Truck stop sued by seafood company for allegedly facilitating fraud by former employee

By Louisiana Record reports | Feb 18, 2015

GRETNA – A truck stop is being sued by a seafood business which claims lax policies allowed a former employee to fraudulently bill thousands of dollars worth of gas after he was fired.

Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. filed suit against Gaubert Food Marts Inc. and Doug Fimerty in the 24th Judicial District Court on Dec. 17.

Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. asserts that it had an account with the Gaubert Food Marts Inc. truck stop that allowed employees to sign for diesel fuel that would later be billed for and that Fimerty, who was a truck driver in a truck clearly marked with a Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. sign, was allowed to sign for the fuel over a year and a half period. The plaintiff claims that after Fimerty was terminated from the company, Gaubert Food Marts Inc. was told that he could no longer sign for fuel.

However, Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. alleges that Gaubert Food Marts Inc. allowed Fimerty to continue to charge gas and that he began filling up large tanks with diesel fuel and signing under the name “Robert” while his replacement also continued to charge fuel on behalf of the company.

The plaintiff contends that by allowing Fimerty to continue to charge diesel fuel, the company facilitated his fraudulent and wrongful fueling. In fact, Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. further asserts that the billing practices undertaken by Gaubert Food Marts Inc. served to obscure Fimerty’s fraud by combining all purchases into a monthly payment rather than providing an itemized list of each purchase.

It was not until April 2014, six months after Fimerty was terminated, that Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. discovered the alleged fraud. The company claims that Fimerty admitted to continuing to charge gas under the name “Robert” when confronted.

Furthermore, Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. alleges that when it brought the discrepancy up with Gaubert Food Marts Inc. the truck stop continued to maintain it was not obligated to pay back the amounts charged by Fimerty on 72 occasions for a total of $20,388.72 following his termination.

The defendants are accused of fraud, conspiracy and violation of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Damages in the amount of $20,388.72 plus attorney’s fees are sought by the plaintiff.

Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. is represented by Natalie K. Maples of New Orleans-based Quinn Law APLC.

The case has been assigned to Division G Judge E. Adrian Adams.

Case no. 745-217.

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