Mechanic Had a Screw Loose, Customer Says

     WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CN) – A disgruntled Bridgestone mechanic purposefully left the oil drain plugs and engine mount bolts loose in a woman’s car and signed his handiwork in a literal “hate” note to the company on the oil filter, the customer claims in county court.
     Rahshel Claire Ann Rice’s lawsuit says Bridgestone Retail Operations dba Tires Plus was negligent in hiring its employee and should have known he was emotionally unstable.
     Rice says she took her Honda Civic to Tires Plus for an oil change and tire rotation that included a “free check up” on May 22. About a week later, her vehicle’s oil plug came off and caused all the oil to drain out while she was driving on I-95, according to the complaint.
     Since oil was gushing out of the car while she was driving, her car became covered in oil, according to the complaint.
     Rice said she was stranded for hours as she waited for help and her vehicle was no longer operable.
     Further inspection revealed that the oil plug was missing, the lower engine mount bolts were so loose they could be removed by hand, and that someone had written the message “I HATE TIRES PLUS!” on the oil filter, according to the complaint.
     She says the message was dated and signed “Shyne.”
     Bridgestone knew or should have known that its employee was overworked, incompetent, unsupervised and unfit to perform the work, according to the complaint
     It also owed her a duty of reasonable care and to hire competent, qualified and safe employees that would not put customers in danger, Rice says.
     The complaint also accuses Tires Plus of committing state-law fraud and misrepresentation, since the employee let her believe the repairs had been made when turning the car over to her.
     Rice says she had to replace the engine because of the incident, thus lowering the car’s value.
     Stress from the ordeal allegedly caused Rice to lose wages. She also says she depleted her savings and credit, and feared that someone at Tires Plus purposely tried to harm her.
     Rice is asking for reimbursement for lost wages and the related credit card charges.
     She is represented by Evgenia Waczewski of Tallahassee, Fla.

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