Failure of wall in forensic lab after Hurricane Isaac may lead to overturned convictions, suit says

Kyle Barnett Jul. 2, 2015, 7:03am


GRETNA – A contractor is being sued by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office which claims criminal prosecutions and convictions may be in jeopardy after a wall in its forensics lab allegedly failed due to damage from Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

Law Enforcement District of Jefferson Parish filed suit against MAPP Construction LLC, Travelers Casualtly & Surety Company and Sizler, Thompson, Brown Architects Project Design Group LLC in the 24th Judicial District Court on May 13.

The Law Enforcement District of Jefferson Parish contends that on Feb. 3, 2009, it contracted MAPP Construction to build the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Forensic Crime Laboratory. The plaintiff asserts the defendants employed a Centria Formawall Dimension System for an exterior wall on the lab. Law Enforcement District of Jefferson Parish claims it experienced minor leaks in the wall after it was built, but during Hurricane Isaac in 2012 that wall sprung a substantial leak. The plaintiff alleges that after the incident occurred MAPP conducted leak tests on the wall and determined that it had failed due to poor workmanship. Further, the Law Enforcement District of Jefferson Parish contends the defendants performed repairs on the wall, but it has been leaking ever since a rainstorm struck the area on Feb. 11, 2014.

The defendant is accused of breach of contract, failing to comply with contract specifications, failing to install the wall system correctly, failing to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions, filing to ensure the wall was properly installed, failing to meet specifications and failing to properly repair the wall.

An unspecified amount in damages is sought for costs of leaning up water damage, property damage, potential compromise of the lab and test results, potential for loss of criminal prosecutions and loss of evidence.

Law Enforcement District of Jefferson Parish is represented by attorney Dennis J. Phayer of Metairie.

The case has been assigned to Division E Judge John J. Molaison Jr.

Case no. 749-646.

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