Potato Farm Asks for Transportation Company to Pay for Fire Damage

Driscoll Potatoes, Inc., which does business as Driscoll Farms, and its insurance company, Nationwide Agribusiness, asked the Idaho District Court on Thursday to require Great Lakes Western, the defendant, to pay for damages done to Driscoll Potatoes’ products and location due to a fire which reportedly initiated in the defendant’s refrigerator truck when it came to pick up potatoes.  

According to the complaint, Driscoll operates a potato processing plant in American Falls, Idaho. A semi tractor and refrigerated trailer owned by Great Lakes came to the facility to transport a load of potatoes in May 2019.  The driver parked the trailer, started the refrigeration unit, and walked into the Driscoll building.  Minutes later a fire was found in the refrigeration unit.

The plaintiffs said that the defendant’s semi tractor and refrigerated trailer received severe damage from the fire, as well as the plaintiffs’ building and parking lot.  Driscoll further claimed that the smoke from the fire caused damage to its potato stock and packaging materials. 

A further investigation revealed that the fire was caused by a failing flexible reinforced rubber fuel line, which ignited gas vapors in the refrigeration unit’s diesel engine compartment. Nationwide reportedly paid over $500,000 to the plaintiff to remedy damages and the plaintiff claimed that it incurred over $8,000 in additional damages that were not covered by insurance. 

Driscoll purported that the fire was a result of negligent and careless acts by the defendants, specifically not inspecting and maintaining its refrigeration trailer including the trailer’s fuel lines. The complaint purported that Great Lakes Western had a duty to maintain its refrigerated trailer and that the fuel lines “have a known tendency to deteriorate and crack in the high heat conditions of an engine compartment.” 

The plaintiffs, represented by Casey Legal Group PLLC, asked the Idaho District Court to award money for damages and for attorneys fees and other court costs.  The parties also asked for a jury trial.