Monday, April 13, 2009

More on Fish & Fisher v. Toyota

UPDATE II: There is another judgement against FF. SOUTH CENTRAL LABORERS’ HEALTH AND WELFARE FUND v. Fish & Fisher, Inc., (Civil Action No. 3:08-0337,
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE, NASHVILLE DIVISION). The Plaintiff sued FF as well as Renna Fisher and Jacqueline Williams for failure to pay contributions as part of a collective bargaining agreement.

The defendants did not file an answer, did not appear in court, and lost a default judgement. For their repeated truancy from all legal proceedings, a contempt of court hearing was scheduled but the case was settled just before the hearing. Fish & Fisher was ordered to pay $4,800.06 with an interest charge of .5% for every month of non-payment. FF was given until August 1, 2009 to pay South Central. The judge also ruled that Williams and Fisher were jointly and severably liable for the entire amount.

UPDATE: Here is ANOTHER recent judgement against Fish & Fisher found on PACER (all the local media outlets use PACER): The Big Red Can and Dottie Mother obtained a default judgement against F&F in federal court on March 25, 2009. Court said actions of F&F were "willful and malicious and rise to the level that would require this Court to assess punitive damages". Damages awarded were: $40,674 in actual damages, $5,000 in punitive damages, and $15,000 in attorney's fees for a grand total of $60,674. On top of the total amount listed below. Copy of judgement

Original Post
Fish & Fisher, a local firm, recently sued Toyota for racial discrimination. According to the lawsuit, Toyota did not invite Fish & Fisher to bid on a contract for site development work. WLBT reported last week:
"According to Fish & Fisher, Inc., vice president Jacqueline Williams, the company took every step to prepare to bid on the prime construction job for the Toyota plant, which is going up at Blue Springs. The company hired experienced project managers and supervisors, attended pre-bid meetings, and became certified under the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
But they claim they were never informed when the bidding process took place.
"No African-American companies were allowed to bid on this job because it was a closed bid, a private bid, to the job. You had to be invited," she says....

The lawsuit says, if the bidding had been open and fair, Fish & Fisher would likely have gotten the prime job for several reasons: it was the only company certified by the National Minority Council, and the company that was awarded the contract was not even bonded.
Once on the job, company President Renee (
should be Renna) Fisher says his employees were subject to racial slurs and vandalism by workers from other companies.
"Trac hoes, different debris stuffed in the mufflers, rags. Water in the fuel," he says.
WLBT News asked for pictures of the vandalism, but we were told we couldn't see the pictures because they're evidence.
This ten-year-old general contracting company is seeking lost profits, punitive and compensatory damages. No dollar amount was given

Some serious charges but they don't tell the entire story, as a quick check of the Secretary of State's website and a call to the Hinds County Circuit Clerk's office would have shown a series of judgements and tax liens against Fish & Fisher. (Brace yourself, this is going to get ugly):

Company/Enrollment Date/Amount
Bonds Company/12-20-08/$77,168.03
Bancorp South/12-20-08/ $80,182.34
Puckett Machinery/7-26-08/ $54,682.97 - Attorney's fees: $18,227.65
Krystal Fravel Company/7-5-03/ $16,174
Transplatinum Service Corp/10-6-01/ $2,293.32
State Tax Commission/9-29-07/ $2.504.15
State Tax Commission/ 7-19-08/ $1,550.00
Ryder Truck Rental/ 1-5-02/ $21,366.21
State Tax Commission/ 7-19-03/$78.74
State Tax Commission/ 5-7-05/ $485.40
G.E. Capital Financial Services/ 3-24-01/ $3,471.24 Attorney's fees: $842.48
H&E Equipment Services, Inc./ 12-20-08/ $287,407
Mississippi Employment Security Commission/ 8-30-08/ $613.60
State Tax Commission/11-3-07/ $1,503
IRS/ 9-29-09/ $139,619
IRS/3-12-08/ $95,701
IRS/ 4-15-08/ $18,229
IRS/ 5-25-07/$242
IRS/" " " /$10,292
IRS/ 9-28-07/ $7,105

If all of these liens and judgements belong to Fish & Fisher, the total is $839,737.82. There were other judgements on the SOS website such as one filed by Merchant's & Farmer's Bank, but were not in the Hinds County databases. The liens were either on the SOS website and/or verified at the offices of the Hinds County Chancery Clerk or Circuit Clerk. If these liens do in fact belong to Fish & Fisher, it could be argued this is not a financially sound company (the SOS website listed its status as "intent to dissolve") and one could see why Toyota did not invite this company to bid on its work.

It should also be noted there was once a Fish & Fisher Transportation Company dissolved in 2003. Ms. Jacqueline Williams, one of the principals of Fish & Fisher, was an officer of the company along with Renna Fisher. The Hinds County Circuit Clerk's office also has several judgements enrolled against a Fish & Fisher Trucking Company. It will not be surprising to learn Williams and Fisher are principals in this company as well. Given the nature of these companies and their financial instability, this lawsuit is probably an attempt by the plaintiffs to get a quick settlement out of Toyota. For some strange reason, this lawsuit doesn't pass the smell test.

By the way, all of this was public record and not one reporter bothered to look this up. Note to media: When a company is filing suit, check the judgement rolls at the Hinds County website and the UCC info search on the SOS website. That will usually tell you if there is something wrong.


Anonymous said...

But if we do the research it will be booooooring and it will mean we would and should be able to discern BS from molasses and then we couldn't print it cuz we'd know it was a non-story. However, if we make it SENSATIONAL, without supporting facts, now THAT sells papers. Ask any editor or publisher.

spank said...

king blowing the story wide open again...great work....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for exposing this because the press will not !! They owe numerous other people money that of course the media will not expose ! Please do some more digging and you will find that there is currently a case in arbitration where L & T is suing Fish & Fisher over false work claims and poor record keeping on the Toyota job !!

Kingfish said...

Which court? Not in Circuit.

Anonymous said...

it is being heard by an arbitrator. will get you more info...

Kingfish said...


Anonymous said...

It also appears Ashbritt sued F&F Feb 19 of this year in the FL Southern District Fed Court. Wonder what thats about?

Plaintiff: Ashbritt, Inc.
Defendant: Fish & Fisher, Inc.

Case Number: 0:2009cv60277
Filed: February 19, 2009

Court: Florida Southern District Court
Office: Contract: Other Office [ Court Info ]
County: Broward
Presiding Judge: Judge William P. Dimitrouleas
Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum

Nature of Suit: Contract - Other Contract
Cause: Diversity
Jurisdiction: Diversity
Jury Demanded By: 28:1332 Diversity-Breach of Contract

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