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California construction lawsuit headed to trial

One side says cracks began forming in the structures before they were even finished. The cracks are said to allow water to seep in and make matters worse. The other side counters that the owner was negligent and should be required to pay some or all of repair costs.

Of course, that’s a very brief summary of the fundamental disagreements that will be aired in California construction litigation headed to trial later this year.

The dispute revolves around the $69 million passenger train platforms at Sacramento’s downtown depot. Just five years old, the platforms already have hundreds of cracks; fissures that apparently allow water to seep into passenger tunnels, the city contends.

Sacramento wants three construction contractors to foot the bills that will reportedly cost millions of dollars and result in extended delays in its train system that handles more than a million passengers a year.

The city says that in 2014 it determined that the concrete platforms were flawed and demanded the contractors fix them at their expense. After the construction companies refused, the city filed a lawsuit that is scheduled for trial in October.

A licensed engineer says a cursory examination of the concrete indicates that the cracking might a relatively cosmetic problem rather than an indication of a structural flaw. He said that assessment might change with a more detailed study, however.

The design contractor on the project was negligent and careless, the city contends, and its work does not meet “professional standards of care.”

The Missouri company declined to comment on the lawsuit, but the general contractor argues that the city was itself negligent and that if anyone should be on the hook for repair costs, it should be Sacramento.

Disputes over the terms of construction contracts and performance can quickly become complex and contentious. Contact an attorney experienced in business litigation to discuss your legal options.

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