York City School District has avoided millions of dollars in potential damages demanded by former contractors who worked on the William Penn Senior High School renovation.
According to a Feb. 28 decision by York County Judge Sheryl Ann Dorney, York City schools had a summary judgment granted against Rado Enterprises, Leer Electric and Fab-Rick Industries.
The three companies claim the district had "defective" construction documents, bad scheduling and other delays that made it impossible for them to complete work on time, thus leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional compensation requested because of extra labor and materials. They were seeking about $5 million overall.
Allegations: Leer Electric, an electric contractor based in Dillsburg, was seeking about $850,000, according to court documents. Its contract was for $4.7 million.
Rado Enterprises, a heating, ventilation and cooling contractor based in Bloomsburg, was seeking $972,000 because of construction "inefficiencies" caused by the district, according to the documents. It was also seeking $360,00 in withheld pay, plus other fees. The initial contract was for $6.6 million.
York City School Board members said in 2006, when Rado first demanded the withheld pay, that Rado failed to install piping to specifications, among other issues.
And Fab-Rick, an Ephrata-based steel fabrication contractor formerly known as Caravel & Rick Inc.
, was seeking $1.9 million, according to the documents. The initial contract was about $3 million.
Dorney ruled in favor of the district in each case; Tom Davies, representing Fab-Rick, said that company intends to appeal.
William Penn's renovation was completed around 2006. The $53.4 million renovation project began with demolition of portions of the 1927 building in 2003. It also included renovation to the remaining parts of that building and construction of a new wing to house an auditorium, library and media center and science and music suites.
Dorney, in her written rulings, said the contractors failed to adequately support their case, and, among other things, that Rado couldn't prove York City caused the damages Rado was claiming.
Leer Electric and Fab-Rick never sought an extension to address delays they were experiencing, Dorney said, or make timely requests to respond to issues they were having.
"It was a huge win for the district. It affirms what the district has been saying for years," said attorney Ed Seglias, representing the district in the Rado case.
Seglias said York City still faces some potential financial issues, as Rado is still seeking compensation for the balance of its contract, about half a million dollars. That will be decided at a later date, as well as whether York City will seek to recoup legal fees.
Davies said his client is upset Dorney took months to make the summary judgment, as both sides in the mean time had to prepare for the possibility of trial, meaning extra legal fees.
Dorney's written rulings in the judgments were "very short opinions given the complexity of the issues," said Davies, an attorney with Lancaster-based Harmon & Davies law firm. That could raise some questions upon appeal in his client's favor, he said.
Tim Woolford, who represented Leer and Rado, wasn't immediately available for comment. He previously said York City "did not follow the phasing plan" for the renovations and did not have a construction schedule for the first six months. And when a schedule was available, it was "incomplete and hopelessly flawed."
Rees Griffiths, who represented York City in the Leer and Fab-Rick cases, said the decision validates York City's belief that "they shouldn't be suing us for the fact they didn't work together well."
Griffiths said York City is saved from the potential exposure of millions of dollars in cases that date back to 2005.
"We never thought those claims are valid," Griffiths said.
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