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August 06. 2013 8:14PM

Salem firm readying cars for Libya targeted in suit

BRENTWOOD — A Massachusetts company is suing Auto Yard of Salem, claiming the business failed to properly secure and package new cars exported to Libya, resulting in some arriving overseas with missing parts, including wheels and batteries.

Trips Logistics Corp. of Methuen, Mass., filed suit in Rockingham County Superior Court on July 26 alleging Auto Yard is responsible for the “damaged or stolen” parts that has resulted in thousands of dollars in losses.

Auto Yard co-owner Miguel Vasquez denies the allegations.

Trips Logistics is the agent for Nasamounas Shipping of Tripoli, Libya, for export control and custom purposes. Nasamounas acquires vehicles in the United States and has them shipped to Libya for resale.

According to the suit, Trips Logistics contracted with Auto Yard many times to assist with the storage, loading, packaging and trucking of vehicles.

Trips Logistics, represented by Salem attorney Steven G. Shadallah, arranged for various vehicles to be delivered to Auto Yard to be stored and then loaded in containers for shipment to Libya in exchange for the payment of Auto Yard’s fees, the suit said.

“Auto Yard was responsible for safeguarding these various vehicles and ultimately loading them in containers so they may be trucked to various ports for ultimate shipment to Libya,” the suit said.

The suit accuses Auto Yard of destroying a 2012 Nissan Maxima on March 4, 2013, claiming Auto Yard failed to properly secure the car on a forklift while it was being lifted for packaging. The car fell off the forklift and hit the ground, the suit said.

“At various other times throughout 2013, Auto Yard failed to properly safeguard, protect or otherwise package various vehicles so that when they arrived in Libya these vehicles, all of which were brand new 2013 vehicles, were missing wheels, catalytic converters, batteries and other valuable accessories and parts,” the suit said.

The suit claims that the wheels and other parts “could have only been damaged or stolen while the vehicles were in the custody of Auto Yard.”

In an interview Tuesday, Vasquez admitted that the Nissan Maxima fell off the forklift in what he called an “accident,” but he denied the company is responsible for missing parts on other vehicles.

“None of those charges are true,” he said, insisting that the company properly secures the vehicles and that parts aren’t missing when they’re shipped.

Vasquez said his business removes the wheels from the vehicles before shipping, but that they’re always placed inside the vehicles when they’re sent. He said removing the wheels is the only way for the vehicles to be shipped in the containers.

“We load the containers and we don’t know what happens after they take the containers,” Vasquez said.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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