Landfill lawsuit continued

Wil Petty

May 5, 2014

A lawsuit, related to the expansion of the Ashe County Landfill and $95,814 the County of Ashe allegedly owes to a Mooresville-based Hunter Construction Group Inc. for construction work, was continued, according to Ashe County attorney John Kilby.

“It was continued, it will be on the next scheduled Superior Court calendar, which will be in August,” Kilby said.

The case was scheduled for April 28 in Superior Court at the Ashe County Courthouse.

Originally the case was scheduled for March 3, 2014, but according to documents, Edgar B. Gregory, Superior Court judge for the 23rd judicial district, allowed the “parties’ joint Motion to Continue.” According to documents, an additional defendant, Municipal Engineering Services Company, had a prior trial conflict in Robeson County.

The trial in question within Robeson County was still continuing, according to documents filed in Ashe County.

According to the filing by Municipal Engineering, ‘The instant lawsuit is a construction and engineering malpractice lawsuit. The matter is complex and will involve a number of expert witnesses and other technical evidence.”

The remaining civil session dates for trial are Aug. 11 and Dec. 1.

While tentatively scheduled for Aug. 11, 2014, Municipal Engineering may have an additional trial which may conflict with the case in Durham County. According to the motion filed April 21, Municipal Engineering says the matter pending in Durham County is expected to last for two weeks.

“There’s potential conflicts on (the set date), and it may be set as a pre-entry setting in the first spring term in 2015, if there’s scheduling conflicts,” Kilby said.

Hunter Construction was hired in 2009 to expand the Ashe County landfill in Crumpler. Hunter allegedly went 405 days over the mutually-agreed time to complete the project, according to documents.

The initial filing of the lawsuit, filed in Iredell County, occurred on Sept. 19, 2012. Then, Hunter claimed Ashe County breached its contract in 10 different ways, ranging from “Furnishing inadequate and/or defective plans and specifications to Hunter for the construction of the Project,” to “Failing to timely pay Hunter for its work.”

In November 2012, the lawsuit was moved from Iredell County to Ashe County.

Upon the completion of the project, Ashe County held $95,814 as an offset against $505,500 in liquidated damages.

Ashe County was holding $2,000 per day because of liquidated damages, but according to documents, would decrease the holdings to $500 daily once the first portion of the project was completed.

According to a November 2012 counterclaim by the County of Ashe, a major concern for the county was having to ship waste out of Ashe. “(Ashe) wanted at least a part of the project completed as soon as possible to avoid that ongoing cost.”

According to documents, Ashe County opened sealed bids for construction of phase 4 of the solid waste landfill on Oct. 2, 2009. The contract for the project was $1,665,065.

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.