Drilling

August 1, 2019

Plaintiffs’ Lawyers: Louis Berger Only Firm Not Yet To Settle Over FIU Bridge Tragedy

Source: https://www.enr.com, July 31, 2019

A year and a half after the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapsed, killing six and injuring at least eight, victims and their survivors have reached monetary settlements with all but one of the companies implicated in the disaster.

Among those signing on to the deal announced in MIami-Dade circuit court Monday are FIGG, the Tallahassee -based engineering firm that designed the 950-ton, 320-foot span, and Munilla Construction Management (MCM), the general contractor headquartered in Miami . In total, 23 subcontractors joined the deal, which requires them to pay into a fund set aside for those affected.

The lone holdout is Louis Berger , an engineering consulting firm hired to double-check FIGG’s design and calculations.

The terms of each settlement are confidential, but the funds agreed upon will be added on top of a $42 million deal hashed out by the victims and MCM’s insurers in April. While Monday’s announcement came in civil court, it will be formalized in federal bankruptcy court as part of MCM’s ongoing debt restructuring.

However, the nature of the bankruptcy proceeding means that all parties involved need Louis Berger on board before the money can be distributed.…

July 25, 2019

Ohio Supreme Court: All Claims for Defective Construction or Design Must Be Brought Within 10 Years of Substantial Completion

Source: https://www.jdsupra.com, July 19, 2019

The Court’s decision in New Riegel Local School District Board of Education, et al. v. The Buehrer Group Architecture & Engineering, Inc., et al.  [1] interprets Ohio’s Statute of Repose,  [2] which generally requires certain construction defect claims to be brought within 10 years of the date of substantial completion. At issue in the case was whether that statute applies only to tort claims (such as claims that the general contractor or architect negligently performed its work by failing to comply with the applicable standard of care), or also to breach of contract claims. In holding that the Statute of Repose applies to both types of claims, the Supreme Court reversed its own 1986 holding that the statute applied only to tort claims.

In the New Riegel case, the New Riegel Local School District filed a lawsuit against its architect, general contractor, roofing subcontractor, and a surety for damages arising out of condensation, moisture intrusion, and other deficiencies allegedly resulting from improper design and construction. The lawsuit was filed more than 10 years after substantial completion. At the time the lawsuit was filed, the statute of limitations for a breach of contract action was 15 years and the school district’s lawsuit was filed within that time period. (The statute of limitations for breach of contract claims has since been amended to 8 years.)  But because the school district’s claims were for breach of contract, it argued that the Statute of Repose did not apply and that its claims were not time-barred.…

July 2, 2019

Yakima School District files lawsuit against architects, builder over Ike blue wall

Source: https://www.yakimaherald.com, July 1, 2019
By: Janelle Retka

The Yakima School District has filed a lawsuit against the design and construction companies responsible for the blue wall running through Eisenhower High School for alleged breach of contract leading to property damage and substantial repair costs.

The lawsuit filed last month in Yakima County Superior Court names Graham Construction & Management, a Canadian firm with a Seattle office, and Yakima-based KDA Architecture as the defendants.

The architecture firm designed the Eisenhower High School campus, which was completed in 2013 to replace a campus dating back to 1957, and Graham was the contractor. The entire project cost the school district roughly $83 million.

June 12, 2019

‘It cracked like hell.’ Feds say engineers didn’t heed alarms before FIU bridge collapse.

Source: https://www.miamiherald.com, June 11, 2019
By: Andres Viglucci and Douglas Hanks

In a damning new report, federal work-safety investigators conclude that engineers in charge of design and construction of the ill-fated Florida International University pedestrian bridge should have shut down Southwest Eighth Street because of growing cracks in the structure, but failed to recognize the span was in danger of imminent collapse due to design errors.

The 115-page report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, obtained Tuesday by the Miami Herald, finds plenty of blame to spread around for the collapse of the bridge last year while under construction.

The report details a catalog of errors ranging from a “deficient” design by Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Engineers that led to structural failure, to inadequate oversight by two engineering consulting firms that were supposed to act as a backstop on design and construction, Louis Berger and Bolton Perez and Associates, and a fatal attempt by FIGG to close the cracks that triggered the collapse.…

June 3, 2019

Bitter Dunkin’ Donuts stadium construction lawsuit heads to trial

Source: https://www.hartfordbusiness.com, June 3, 2019
By: Greg Bordonaro

A bitter lawsuit between the city of Hartford and the fired former developer of Dunkin’ Donuts Park is finally coming to a head.

The trial between the city and Centerplan Construction Co./DoNo Hartford LLC, which argues it was wrongfully terminated from the stadium development and is suing for $90 million, is scheduled to start Wednesday, while a pre-trial hearing and jury selection is expected to start today.

The city hired Centerplan and DoNo Hartford LLC, both controlled by Robert Landino, in early 2015 to oversee development of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home to the minor-league Double A Hartford Yard Goats baseball team, but the project quickly faced problems.

Faulty construction and other delays created over $10 million in cost overruns that forced the Yard Goats to play its inaugural season entirely on the road.

May 30, 2019

Allied World must defend construction lawsuit: Court

Source: https://www.businessinsurance.com, May 29, 2019
By: Judy Greenwald

A federal court ruled Tuesday that an Allied World Assurance Co. unit must defend an engineering firm in a construction lawsuit, but held off ruling on whether it must also indemnify the company until underlying litigation is resolved.

Richard Goettle Inc., a Cincinnati-based geotechnical engineering and construction firm, was hired by Winfield, Alabama-based Joy Global Conveyors Inc. to build a retaining wall at the Dolet Hills
Truck Dump project at a coal mine near Mansfield, Louisiana, according to Tuesday’s ruling by the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in Allied World Surplus Lines Insurance Co. v. Richard Goettle Inc.

In April 2017, there was a “failure incident” involving the wall, and an engineering firm hired to investigate concluded Goettle’s original wall design “was insufficient and/or incomplete from a geotechnical standpoint,” according to the ruling.

Joy Global sued the firm for negligent design, negligent construction and breach of contract.

Goettle’s insurer, Farmington, Connecticut-based Allied World Surplus Lines, an Allied World Assurance unit, denied coverage, and Goettle filed suit seeking defense and indemnification.

The court ruled Allied World is obligated to defend the company. One of the factors discussed in the ruling is Allied World said it is entitled to deny coverage because the company had failed in a policy renewal application to inform the insurer about the alleged error or omission in its retaining wall’s design before its 2017-2018 policy took effect.

“Goettle did not know about the Dolet Hills incident on March 29, 2017, the date of the renewal application, because the incident didn’t occur until April 2017,” said the ruling. “Goettle’s failure to update the policy renewal application does not provide a basis for the denial of coverage,” said the court.

The court also held Allied World was obligated to defend Goettle under its 2017-2018 policy form because there was a potentially covered claim.

It said it is holding the issue of indemnification in abeyance pending the underlying litigation’s resolution. “The duty to indemnify must be based on more than the allegations of the complaint in the underlying lawsuit,” the ruling said.

Goettle’s attorney had no comment, while Allied World attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.…

May 7, 2019

Lawsuit seeks millions, alleges design flaws at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady

Source: https://dailygazette.com, May 4, 2019
By: John Cropley

Developer sues architect and engineer, alleges problems with water leaks and noise

The developer of Mohawk Harbor is suing its designers, blaming them for water leaks and noise intrusion in some of the buildings and structures.

The lawsuit filed April 26 in state Supreme Court in Schenectady County seeks damages expected to exceed $3 million, plus related costs.

Attorney Joel M. Howard III of the Albany law firm Couch White brought the complaint on behalf of Maxon Alco Holdings LLC against architect J.T. Pollard and his firm, Re4orm Architecture of Schenectady, as well as engineer Dale Meszler and his firm, 260 Structural Engineering of Albany.

Pollard did the architectural work for the project and Meszler the structural engineering work.

Maxon Alco is a subsidiary of the Galesi Group, developer of Mohawk Harbor, and lists the same address as the Galesi Group’s new headquarters: 220 Harborside Drive, which is one of two office buildings at the waterfront development.…

April 25, 2019

Settlement reached in lawsuit over runway overrun collapse

Source: https://www.herald-dispatch.com, April 24, 2019

A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit over the 2015 landslide that collapsed a runway safety overrun at Yeager Airport.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Yeager officials say the airport was awarded $14.8 million in the settlement that ends all legal wrangling stemming from the collapse. Of that, about $6 million will go for fees and reimbursements, leaving the airport with about $8.3 million.
Following the collapse, Yeager Airport filed suit against 15 construction, engineering, design, insurance and supply firms involved with building the 240-foot-high earthen structure supporting the safety overrun area. No one was injured in the collapse.

Yeager board Chairman Ed Hill said the settlement vindicates the airport of any wrongdoing.

April 25, 2019

University of Akron sues HNTB, others for $1M ‘catastrophic’ stadium defects

Source: https://www.constructiondive.com, April 24, 2019
By: Kim Slowey

Dive Brief:

  • The University of Akron in Ohio is suing design-build contractor HNTB Ohioand others who participated in the construction of InfoCision Stadium–Summa Field, alleging it has had to pay $1 million to fix “catastrophic” construction defects plaguing the 10-year-old football stadium. Other defendants include construction manager Welty Building Co., concrete subcontractor Parsons Concrete Contractors, grout subcontractor EPI of Cleveland and Parsons’ and EPI’s sureties.
  • The claims outlined in the lawsuit are related to the stadium railing system’s concrete supports, which the university claims are failing. The university’s lawyers allege that Parsons did not install the specified rebar-secured sleeves — into which the railings were supposed to fit — and that EPI did not grout the railings into place correctly.
  • The 30,000-seat stadium was completed in 2009 at a cost of $61 million.
April 18, 2019

City sues contractors over transfer station issues

Source: https://www.weatherforddemocrat.com, April 17, 2019
By: Joseph Brown

Huntsville has authorized a lawsuit against three contractors in a bid to recoup repair costs for structural issues at the hub for the city’s trash.

In January, city officials revealed that pavement for the driveway at the transfer station was cracking and crumbling, just 18 months after the near $3.6 million facility opened its doors. Officials later discovered that the contractor did not provide lime stabilization, did not install steel reinforcements nor did they deliver the desired concrete thickness, according to attorney Jeff Chapman of the Chapman Firm, who is representing the city in the litigation.

“The pavement at the transfer station was cracking, crumbling and deteriorating in a way that is not acceptable, and in a way that was not anticipated from the intended design and construction,” Chapman said.

The city’s lawsuit will be filed against the facilities designer Weaver Consulting Group, contractor-at-risk Anchor Construction and subcontractor Liberty Concrete.…