MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — The Court of Appeals of Minnesota ruled that Obiora C. Onyemelukwe, employed by Cummins, Inc. in 2008, did not have valid ownership interest in the Cummins parts he took from the property, therefore did not incur damages when he lost possession of the parts.
Onyemelukwe was employed by Cummins in 2008 when he noticed other employees placing alternators into a pile. He learned the alternators were considered scrap, and believed the parts might be useful in developing countries. The shop-floor coordinator and engine-material planner gave him permission to donate the parts to a charity in Nigeria. He removed the parts from the Cummins warehouse between Sept. 25-29, reports Leagle.com.
Onyemelukwe signed an addendum to his apartment lease with Filister Enterprises to rent a garage stall. Filister failed to update its records, so an employee later offered to lease the stall to another tenant. Filister discovered the boxes labeled “Cummins,” and the company and the police were contacted, reports Leagle.com.
The parts were determined stolen. Onyemelukwe went to the police, at which point Cummins was contacted again. Cummins determined the parts were removed without the proper authorization, so the company did not return the parts to Onyemelukwe, reports Leagle.com.
Leagle.com reports that in Dec. 2009, Onyemelukwe sued Filister for breach of contract, conversion, negligence, breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, and defamation. Onyemelukwe also sued the City of Fridley, Officer Menne, and Sergeant Morrissey for conversion and negligence.
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