A box of valuable baseball cards never made it to its authentication destination. A collector and his attorney say they were stolen. The shipping company disagrees.
Rick Fasanella grew up in Connecticut, collecting 1950s baseball cards like most kids his age. He’d accumulated thousands, he says, even some complete sets. His cards never saw bike spokes. Decades later, many were in top grade.
After years in storage and then a safe deposit box at his new home in Florida, Fasanella says he culled the best of the best from his collection and shipped them via FedEx to Beckett Grading Services back in February of 2007. He paid $84 for $15,000 of insurance. Not long after, he received a large envelope from the shipping giant with 66 cards inside. 36 were missing. The box he had shipped them in had been damaged, said FedEx.
Among the cards Fasanella says he shipped were a 1941 Play Ball Joe DiMaggio and numerous vintage Topps cards of Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Ted Williams.
Despite his $15,000 insurance payment, Fasanella says the 36 missing cards were worth $49,000, and he filed a lawsuit claiming they had been stolen by someone at FedEx en route to Dallas. The suit was filed in a Florida state court, but the case was moved to federal court based on statutes controlling interstate shipments. Fasanella’s attorney, Leon St. John, moved the federal court to remand it back to state court. That happened months later but when St. John amended the state complaint to add a count under the federal statute, FedEx removed it again to federal court. A motion to remand the case back to state court once again was denied.
"It is now in federal court on two counts," St. John wrote Sports Collectors Daily via e-mail. "A state count for civil theft, which triples the damages if successful, and a count for the federal statute violation of damage to interstate shipments."
FedEx has a pending motion to dismiss the state count, but that’s the last development in the case, which is now dragging toward its two-year anniversary. The federal court system moves slower because of the case load, but Fasanella and his attorney have not given up hope of winning.
"This is a sad case because someone at FedEx took only the most valuable cards which were being shipped to Beckett and obviously knew what they were doing," St. John stated.
FedEx isn’t willing to take Fasanella’s word for it and after initially offering just a few hundred dollars to settle the case according to a 2007 story in the Palm Beach Post, St. John says FedEx is not offering any monetary settlement at present.