Russo and Steele Collector Automobile Auction, LLC filed suit against Tri-Rentals, Inc, in Arizona Superior Court citing negligence; gross negligence; breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing. Tri-Rentals, Inc. was the tent and rental company responsible for the construction and maintenance of Russo and Steele’s entire auction site, where the auction tents that housed several hundred collector cars collapsed on Jan. 21, 2010 during Russo and Steele’s 10th anniversary celebration.
“Under the consultation of Tri-Rentals, Russo and Steele took every precaution to ensure that the attendees and assets of the auction were safe during the scheduled event that took place this past January 2010,” said Drew Alcazar, president and co-owner of Russo and Steele. “Over the past 10 years we have become well respected and established in the collector car community, and work diligently year-round to provide superior customer service to our clients. We want to resolve any issues, make our customers and ourselves whole, and focus on getting back to business.”
On the afternoon of Jan. 21, the City of Scottsdale Flood Planning Department notified Russo and Steele of a potential flooding hazard, but allowed the auction site to remain open because of Russo and Steele’s diligence in securing the site for visitors. The auction company took a number of precautions to ensure the safety of the attendees, while Tri-Rentals advised Russo and Steele that they were reinforcing the tents, and assured the auction company that the site was secure. Contrary to earlier reports, Russo and Steele took the same precautions as other auction companies in the vicinity in order to prepare for the weather. These precautions included securing multiple industrial water pumps, ordering several hundred feet of commercial concrete barricades, as well as repositioning semi trucks and trailers to block the impending wind.
As the day went on, Russo and Steele worked closely with the City of Scottsdale, who was onsite monitoring the situation, to ensure safety of employees, guests and attendees. Tri-Rentals continual assurances led Russo and Steele to believe the tents were secure. Additionally, Russo and Steele paid Tri-Rentals fees to assume the duty of installation and maintenance of the tents, equipment, and decor during the 2010 Scottsdale auction.
During and after the Scottsdale event, Russo and Steele reached out to its clients in order to assist in any way possible, as it was clear consignors needed an avenue to seek out damages to compensate them for their inconvenience and loss. Russo and Steele prides itself on its longstanding reputation and took the necessary steps to enlist legal counsel to represent the company. As a result, Russo and Steele has been forced to file its lawsuit against Tri-Rentals, Inc. in order to protect its reputation.