Engineering firm sued over parks complex delay

March 06, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

The county is suing an Aberdeen engineering firm for $145,000, contending that construction of the Hickory Park Recreation Complex was delayed because the civil engineers did not do a required wetlands study before construction began.

The suit, filed Feb. 25 in Harford Circuit Court by Richard G. Herbig and Paula S. Etting, assistant county attorneys, alleges that Windward Associates Inc. of the first block of Parke St. in Aberdeen was negligent and breached its 1989 contract with the county by failing to determine the boundaries of wetlands within the planned complex.

The county suit states that the Board of Estimates had awarded a $216,000 contract in January 1991 to J. M. Comer Construction Inc. to build two combination baseball, softball and soccer fields, restrooms and paved parking in Hickory, off Ady Road, in accordance with the plans and specifications of Windward Associates Inc., the civil engineers.

The county contends that the builder had to stop work for about a month while the engineering firm completed the wetlands study.

That work stoppage, the suit states, cost the county $22,500, the amount it had to pay the builder because of the delay.

Alleging negligence by the engineering firm, the county is seeking $22,500 to cover the money due J. M. Comer and $50,000 for itself.

The county is asking for identical amounts in the engineering firm's alleged breach of contract.

The suit also contends that the engineering firm failed to defend the county against the contractor.

Allen R. Phillipe, president and chief executive officer of Windward, said last week that he had not yet seen the lawsuit but knew about it.

He called the suit disappointing, saying that it wouldn't have been necessary if the county had worked to resolve the matter in a timely manner.

Mr. Phillipe said his firm had made a detailed response to the county in December 1992.

"The county has taken no action in over a year, and now they say they must file suit," he said. "It strikes us as a shabby way of doing business, not to mention an abuse of the legal process."

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