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CONSTRUCTION KNOWLEDGE BLOG

April 11, 2012

Tampa Bay Water Rolls the Dice and Loses
Filed under: Construction — Tags: — nedpelger

I’m happy to report that a jury took less than four hours yesterday to unanimously decide that HDR Engineering wasn’t negligent in designing the Tampa Bay Water reservoir. I don’t fully understand the technical facts of the dispute, but I know that Tampa Bay Water rejected compromise and negotiation and went for the big $97M court win.

Tampa Bay Water had previously settled with their construction manager for $6M and the general contractor for less than $1M. Obviously TBW believed the HDR Engineering was primarily responsible. In fact, TBW rejected a $30M mediation agreement last October, in hopes of winning much more from a jury trial.

TBW hoped the damages it would receive from a trial would mostly fund the $162-million renovation and expansion design-build project it has initiated with Kiewit Infrastructure Group. Instead, that work will now be paid by tax payers.

I’ve seen the scenario several times from different vantage points. Attorneys optimistically ¬†predicting big wins, not really considering the prospect of a loss. Remember: asking your attorney about litigation is a bit like asking your barber if you need a haircut. Look in the mirror and make your own decision.

Keep in mind the several million dollars TBW spent on attorney fees and what that roll of the dice got them.

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