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Lawsuit over tent collapse focuses on rental company

Industry News | November 9, 2010 | By:

The focus of a lawsuit over a tent blowdown that damaged classic cars in Scottsdale, Ariz., in January has shifted to the rental company, Tri-Rentals of Phoenix, Ariz.

“We’ve decided tactically to not pursue claims against [auction company] Russo and Steele and continue the case against Tri-Rentals,” Phoenix attorney Robert Greer told the Arizona Republic newspaper. Greer represents owners of about 50 damaged cars that were uninsured.

Russo and Steele was named in the initial lawsuits filed by Greer and by insurance companies representing other owners. Judge Edward Burke ruled in August that Greer’s clients could not sue the auction company because of a provision in the contract between the auction company and the car owners. In late October, plaintiffs consolidated claims against Tri-Rentals. The auction company is also suing Tri-Rentals.

William Doyle, a Phoenix attorney representing Tri-Rentals, told the Arizona Republic that “there has been no determination that Russo was not at fault.”

In its response to the lawsuit, Tri-Rentals named tent manufacturer Aztec Tents, Torrance, Calif., and the city of Scottsdale, whose inspectors approved the installation, as “nonparties at fault.”

On Jan. 21, under severe weather including heavy rain and high winds, tents installed by Tri-Rentals collapsed during Russo and Steele’s 10th anniversary celebration, damaging cars under the tents. A tornado warning—rare for the state—had been issued for the Scottsdale area about the time the tents collapsed. Tri-Rentals is a subsidiary of Torrance, Calif.-based Classic Party Rentals. Representatives of Classic Party Rentals and Aztec Tents did not return phone calls to InTents.

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