Ohio machinery maker HPM Corp. has been named as a defendant in two lawsuits, one filed by a French steel supplier and the other by a customer in Australia.
The company in Puteaux, France — Usinor Industeel — is demanding $221,600 in payment for three rolled-steel platens. Usinor sued HPM on March 16 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
An HPM official called the dispute a misunderstanding.
Usinor said HPM placed a purchase order for the platens June 15. Usinor shipped the platens to Cleveland and sent HPM an invoice but claims HPM has refused to pay.
The platens are sitting in a warehouse in Cleveland, according to William Flickinger, HPM's president and chief operating officer.
"We're looking for a buyer for them," Flickinger said.
"To me, it's a misunderstanding on delivery requirements on the plates, and obviously HPM and the supplier need to get together and work this out," he said.
According to Flickinger, HPM had requested a quote for the platens, but the platens ended up coming to the United States last fall, many months earlier than HPM planned. That led to a dispute about the payment schedule.
The platens were intended for a 3,500-ton die-casting machine. HPM does not have an order for a machine of that size, he said.
In the second dispute, Owens-Illinois (Australia) Pty. Ltd. filed suit Jan. 25 against HPM in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio.
Flickinger said HPM built a sheet extrusion line for Owens-Illinois. O-I paid for the machine but then decided, after business conditions changed, that it did not want the machine, he said. Flickinger said Owens-Illinois wants its money back.
O-I's lawyer, William Connelly of Toledo, Ohio, did not return a telephone call for this story.
Flickinger said the sheet line is sitting in limbo in a warehouse in Galion, Ohio. HPM is based in Mount Gilead, Ohio. Flickinger said HPM wants the court to resolve the situation so the line can be delivered to O-I or be sold.