2014 trial scheduled in faulty construction

A lawsuit filed by Mesa County claiming contractors were negligent in the design and construction of the $3 million Animal Services building may play out at the Mesa County Justice Center next year.

District Judge Valerie Robison last week scheduled a trial to start Sept. 22, 2014, running through Oct. 3, 2014, when a jury may decide who is responsible for a host of construction problems that have plagued the animal services building built in 2010.

The lawsuit claims negligence and breach of contract by the primary contractor on the project, Denver-based CMC Group Inc.; Grand Junction-based geotechnical contractor Huddleston-Berry Engineering & Testing, LLC; and architectural and engineering subcontractor Zeiler-Pennock Inc. of Denver.

The allegations in the complaint describe multiple structural failures appearing in the building as soon as four months after its opening.

Problems started before the facility opened its doors, the lawsuit alleges.

The county’s lawsuit alleges Huddleston-Berry provided a geotechnical investigation in November 2008, including soil analysis and engineering recommendations that “were thereafter relied upon” in construction of the building.

The county alleges the facility was constructed on top of shale, shifting and expanding when wet.

“The floors have sloped and fallen away from the drains,” the county’s complaint reads. “Many of the floor drains are higher than (the) surrounding floor surface.”

The shifting also, “causes animal waste to drain away from the receptacles and flow into the adjacent pedestrian hallways ...”

The county paid CMC $3,073,893 for the project, according to the lawsuit.

A counterclaim filed Oct. 4 by CMC contends that Mesa County is in breach of contract for withholding payment of $17,655. In that filing, CMC says it “completed the project and fulfilled all of its duties under the contract.”

CMC also has filed a cross claim against Zeiler-Pennock, claiming the architectural firm was negligent in its design.


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