Contractors Prevail Over School Board

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

In a hotly contested dispute arising over the settlement of the Tolles Technical Center's expansion in Madison County, the School District Owner sued the Contractor, Peterson Construction, and excavation Subcontractor, George Igel & Co., alleging that the construction team had failed to remove all of the organic soils under the building to full depth. The contractors countered that they had fully performed the work according to the specifications and that the Soils Engineer retained by the Owner, Dunbar, was responsible for any errors concerning the identification and removal of organic soils.

This situation was complicated by the fact that the School District's contract contained disclaimers purporting to disclaim any liability for the subsurface reports or the actions of the soils engineer.

After a two week trial before Madison County jurors, all of whom were taxpayers in the School District, the jury agreed with the Contractors' position that they had fully complied with their contract and subcontract obligations respectively, threw out the school's claim in excess of $1 million and awarded the Contractors more than $323,000 in excess costs advanced by them to help repair the building.