Rome man loses small claims case against Clifford Fuel

(WKTV)- A scary event at a local gas station made its way all the way to small claims court.

Rich Pittwood of Rome was at the Nice & Easy Sunoco station on Ridge Mills Rd. in Rome, owned by Clifford Fuel in Utica, on Saturday, October 13, 2012.

That's when an employee of the store allegedly pulled the trigger to activate the flame retardant material to come down from above the gas pumps.

That employee, 21 year old Alyssa Maine of Rome is charged with one count of reckless endangerment.

Pittwood was inside after just pumping his gas, but his car was outside.

On Monday, his case against Clifford Fuel was heard in Utica City Court.

He was suing for the amount it would cost to replace his air conditioning, and get his car fully cleaned, including all of the wiring to prevent corrosion in the future.

Pittwood presented written testimony from that engineer.

Utica City Court Judge Ralph Eannace ruled that Clifford Fuel was liable, but didn't order the company to pay for the $3,600 for the work Pittwood wanted to have done to prevent corrosion in the future, but Judge Ralph Eannace only ordered Clifford Fuel to pay for what Pittwood already had done, $118.00 for his engine to be cleaned, and a $36.00 oil change.

Judge Eannace said he couldn't rule for any preventative work be done, because Pittwood either needed his expert engineer to appear in court to be cross examined, or have two estimates on the repair costs, he only had one.

Alyssa Maine is due to appear in Rome City Court on Thursday to answer the charge of reckless endangerment.

The attorney for Clifford Fuel says Maine was terminated after the incident last October.

Others were also at the store that day and some were in court on Monday to see what the outcome was.

Steve LoRusso of Rome was one of them.

He says he may also take Clifford Fuel to small claims court, but he will definitely have two estimates for the repair work needed.

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