Keystone School Board sues contractors, insurance companies over building ‘defects’

Keystone School Board sues contractors, insurance companies over building ‘defects’

Source: http://www.morningjournal.com, February 1, 2018
By: Keith Reynolds

The Keystone School Board is suing multiple contractors, claiming breach of contract in connection with the construction of Keystone High School and Keystone Middle School.

In a pair of lawsuits filed Jan. 29 in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, Northern Valley Contractors Inc. of North Canton and its bonding agent Ohio Farmers Insurance Co.Fortney & Weygandt Inc. of North Olmsted and its bonding agent Federal Insurance Co.; RFC Contracting LLC of Cleveland and its bonding agent Western Surety Co.; Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland; and FMD Architectsare named as defendants.

The filings allege the contractors and FMD architects failed to uphold the terms of their contracts with the district to provide various services in the construction of the two schools.

It seeks to make claims on the bonds provided by the insurance companies.

In the case of the Middle School, 501 Opportunity Way in LaGrange, the district claims it entered into an agreement with the now-defunct Giambrone Masonry Inc. in 2011 to provide masonry work for the project.

That contract was bonded and a bid guaranty was provided by Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, the suit says.

The filing claims RFC Contracting also entered into a contract with the district in 2011 to provide general trades contracting for the project.

Western Surety Co. bonded and provided a bid guaranty for the contract, the suit says.

The district observed “deficiencies in the building envelope components” of the school, including defects to the ventilated attic, upper level mechanical mezzanine, and upper and lower level conditioned air spaces, according to the suit.

The district served a notice of default to both contractors and their bonding agents in April 2017, which included a report outlining the deficiencies, the suit says.

The notice demanded the contractors and/or the insurance companies provide a written plan to correct the work, according to the suit.

The middle school suit claims breach of contract and breach of express warranty against Giambrone, despite the dissolved company not being named as a defendant, and a claim against the Giambrone bond with Western Surety.

A representative for Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland did not return a call for comment.

The suit claims breach of contract and breach of express warranty against RFC, and a claim against the bond with Western Surety Co.

Both RFC and Western Surety Co. declined to comment on the allegations.

The suits also claims FMD Architects breached its contract for the construction.

The district is seeking an excess of $175,000 in damages in the suit.

DAMAGES AT THE HIGH SCHOOL

In the case of Keystone High, 580 Opportunity Way, the district claims Northern Valley and Fortney & Weygandt entered into contracts with the district in 2004 to provide construction services for the project.

Ohio Farmers Insurance bonded and provided a bid guaranty for the Northern Valley contract.

Federal Insurance bonded and provided a bid guaranty for the Fortney & Weygandt contract, according to the suit.

The filing alleges the district discovered defects in the building’s roofing and enveloping system, including issues with the asphalt shingles, low-slope roof system, wall louvers and mechanical equipment.

Both contractors and insurance companies were served with notices of default in April and May 2017.

The suit claims breach of contract and breach of express warranty against Northern Valley, and a claim against the bond with Ohio Farmers.

Northern Valley no longer is in operation and a contact number has been disconnected.

A representative of Ohio Farmers declined to comment.

The suits also claims breach of contract and breach of express warranty against Fortney & Weygandt, and a claim against the bond with Federal Insurance.

A representative of Fortney & Weygandt declined to comment. A call to Federal Insurance was not returned.

Like the middle school suit, the district also makes a claim of breach of contract against FMD.

Calls to FMD were not returned for comment on either case.

The district is seeking in excess of $175,000 in damages.

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