Whitney wins first round of lawsuit

By Sharon Kiley Mack, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 04, 2009, at 7:56 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A preliminary injunction sought by Worcester Holdings LLC, a wreath maker from Columbia, against Whitney Originals, a Machias wreath maker, was denied Friday by Justice Kevin Cuddy in Hancock County Superior Court.

The injunction is part of a lawsuit filed this summer by Worcester against Whitney regarding a right of way in Whitneyville.

“We are so pleased with this finding,” David Whitney, owner of Whitney Originals, said early Friday evening.

The injunctive relief that Worcester was seeking included removal of a new warehouse Whitney is building on U.S. Route 1 near the Machias town line in Whitneyville. The preliminary injunction would have stopped Whitney from using his under-construction facility.

The suit put a hold on construction of the controversial wreath-making facility and caused Whitney to lease three other buildings during the peak of wreath season.

The court will convene a meeting of the attorneys next Friday “to see what, if anything, is left of the lawsuit,” Whitney said

Earlier this year, Whitney Originals was awarded the contract for all wreaths and balsam products for L.L. Bean — a contract previously held by Worcester — and to accommodate the increased orders, David Whitney began construction of the new facility.

Worcester Holdings LLC of Columbia maintains that it owns property behind Whitney’s and that its right of way runs directly under Whitney’s new building.

In a civil lawsuit filed in Washington County Superior Court in July, Worcester Holdings asked that the building be removed and damages paid for violation of the easement and trespass.

“We own the piece of land in back there,” Morrill Worcester said at the time. “It will eventually be used as tip land.” Tips are the part of the evergreens used for wreath making.

“The problem is there is a great big swamp in the middle of the land and the only way we can access it is through our right of way,” Worcester said.

In court filings, Worcester maintained the right of way was on his deed and Whitney said it was not on his.

Whitney already has housed his operations in nine Washington County facilities and leased three spaces — the former Rite Aid in Machias, a building in Baileyville and another in Presque Isle — to offset the loss of space from the new facility.

Worcester could not be reached for comment Friday.

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/12/04/business/whitney-wins-first-round-of-lawsuit/ printed on July 28, 2014