Ken's Foods, which makes the eponymous line of salad dressings, could wind up paying twice for shipments of tomato paste from California - first to a freight distributor that went bankrupt and now to the railroad that the distributor never paid.
US District Court Judge Rya Zobel ruled yesterday that Ken's, based in Marlborough, has to pay CSX some $730,000 - plus interest and fees to be determined later - for numerous shipments of tomato paste delivered in 2014 and 2015.
Ken's had argued that CSX's beef is with a company called Distribution Services of America (DSA), which Ken's paid to arrange the shipments before that company went bankrupt. CSX had indeed sued that company, but then, 16 months after the first unpaid payment, demanded Ken's make up the loss.
Zobel started by saying Ken's brought the problem on itself, because it never once, in 17 years of doing business with the company, did any checking to make sure it was paying railroads for shipping.
And the bills of lading for the paste shipments said payment was due on delivery to a freight depot in Foxboro, to be paid for by "DSA for Ken’s Foods, Inc.," which Zobel ruled meant that Ken's was ultimately responsible for making sure the railroad was paid.