NEW YORK — Despite appearances of being an open-and-shut case, it took Ann Taylor Stores Corp. a year to win a judgement against a transportation company that failed to deliver a shipment of clothing.

In an opinion filed Sept. 14, Judge Robert W. Sweet of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, issued a default judgment against Indiana-based Interstate Motor Carrier Inc. Sweet instructed Ann Taylor to submit materials to establish the amount in damages to be awarded.

According to the original complaint, filed in September 2003, Ann Taylor handed over a shipment of 1,094 cartons of clothing to IMC in March 2003. In turn, IMC was to ship the goods from Louisville, Ky., to North Bergen, N.J. According to Ann Taylor, the shipment never arrived, ultimately costing an estimated $1.7 million.

Ann Taylor sought the $1.7 million plus interest and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.

Collecting on any judgment could prove difficult as IMC hasn’t been seen or heard from in almost six months. According to the judge’s opinion, IMC’s lawyer, Barry Gutterman, requested to be relieved as counsel on May 20, after he was informed that IMC was no longer in business. In his request to be relieved, Gutterman noted that he had not been paid for some of his legal services.

The opinion also pointed out that, as far back as April, IMC had shuttered its doors and failed to provide any forwarding address.

“In light of IMC’s indications to its former counsel that it was no longer in business and its failure to participate in this case since May of 2004, entry of default judgment is appropriate,” wrote Judge Sweet.

— Ross Tucker

This story first appeared in the October 5, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.