Cheyenne Gas Station Suing Fed Ex For Driver Damaging Car Wash

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The owners of a Cheyenne gas station are suing Federal Express, alleging a delivery truck’s backup camera got caught in the brushes of a car wash, causing more than $170,000 in damages and forcing the car wash’s closure for more than one month.

Big D Oil Co., which is based in South Dakota, filed a lawsuit against FedEx in state district court in Cheyenne in late April over damages done to a car wash connected to a Big D service station in Cheyenne.

The case was moved to U.S. District Court on Thursday because the amount in dispute is more than $75,000 and the two parties are located in different states.

According to court documents, Fed Ex driver Penny Archibald drove her delivery vehicle through the Big D car wash on Dell Range Boulevard in August 2020.

The lawsuit said Archibald drove into the car wash despite the presence of warning signs that said her vehicle could not safely pass through the car wash.

The lawyers for Big D argued a sign on the car wash also said car wash operators were not responsible for damages to vehicles and warned drivers against going through the car wash if a vehicle had “body damage, loose chrome or non-standard accessories.”

Archibald’s vehicle had a back-up camera on the top of it, which the Big D lawyers argued is a non-standard accessory.

Her vehicle’s camera became entangled in the car wash’s brushes, which led to a collapse of components in the car wash and caused “severe” damage to the structure and equipment.

Archibald fled the scene after causing the damage, the lawsuit said, but returned later and admitted to causing the damage.

Due to the damage caused by Archibald, the car wash was inoperable from Aug. 6 to Sept. 22, 2020, the lawsuit said. The damages caused totaled more than $174,000.

Big D’s lawyers also claimed that by not having the car wash operational, the company lost additional sales, revenue and customer loyalty.

The lawsuit also argued that FedEx has not reimbursed Big D for the damages to the car wash, loss of revenue or the loss of ancillary sales, despite demands for it.

The oil company is asking for FedEx to not only repay the Big D for the damages and economic losses, but also for but attorney fees.

Fed Ex has denied the allegations in a subsequent court filing, saying the signs at the car wash did not make it clear that the FedEx vehicle could not pass safely through the car wash.

The company also denied it took any action that led directly to the damage.

“FedEx Express’s conduct was neither a material element, substantial factor, nor a cause of any of (Big D’s) alleged injuries or damages,” the filing said.

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