Legal woes continue for United Furniture Industries after the company abruptly halted operations in November. The Mississippi-based company—parent of Lane Furniture—was slapped with a civil suit by DFW LinQ Transport Inc., on Dec. 2, alleging its transport division UFI Transportation failed to deliver a load of copper wire.
According to the suit, more than 44,000 pounds of copper wire were supposed to be delivered to Southwire in Starkville, Miss., by UFI Transportation. The shipment brokered by DFW LinQ never reached its destination after UFI ceased operation on Nov. 21. On that same day, Hector Dayer, CFO for DFW LinQ, contacted former UFI Transportation driver manager Hope Moffat Johnson via a Facebook message requesting access to retrieve the missing shipment. Johnson informed Dayer she had been terminated and could not help.
The lawsuit filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in Aberdeen outlines that DFW LinQ is seeking more than $1 million in punitive and compensatory damages related to the missing shipment.
On Tuesday, DFW LinQ filed an amendment to the lawsuit, naming Ohio-based Stage Capital, LLC, and its Naples, Fla.-based owner David Belford as defendants. According to the amendment, UFI Transportation is a subsidiary of Stage Capital, LLC.
This suit follows three more lawsuits filed in November on behalf of former employees of United Furniture Industries. The first—a class-action suit filed on behalf of more than 30 former employees—alleges the company violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act by not giving workers 60 days notice of termination. The second and third, each filed on behalf of individual former workers, request the standard 60 days’ pay as outlined by the WARN Act.
United Furniture Industries notified employees via email on Nov. 21 that the company would immediately shut down, laying off some 2,700 employees, offering them no continuation of benefits or COBRA.
According to the New York Post, Belford sent the message after an emergency board meeting on Nov. 20 that resulted in the decision to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But Belford refused to follow that guidance and instead opted to shut down the operation. Since then, Belford has been unreachable and is “not returning anyone’s phone calls,” according to the Post report.