Orleans Parish company sues contractor over unfinished apartment project

By Andrea Dearden | Sep 9, 2010

A Gramercy company is suing a contractor and supervisors of a New Orleans construction project on breach of contract claims.

Sturdy Built Homes LLC filed the petition against Carl E. Woodward, doing business as Woodward Design + Build, The Travelers Companies Inc., Ed Jorgensen and Lane Louque Aug. 27 in Orleans Parish District Court.

In December 2009, Woodward entered into a contract with owners of the CJ Peete Project to build 460 new apartments at the CJ Peete site in New Orleans, the complaint states. In June 2009, Woodward and Sturdy Built entered into a subcontract whereby Sturdy Built would provide and install all beams, wall panels, roof trusses and floor trusses required for the project.

According to the complaint, Woodward and his representatives caused multiple problems for Sturdy Built including holding the fabrication company to arbitrary standards, failing to provide workers access needed to complete the project and for failing to pay Sturdy Built as agreed.

Jorgensen, of Mississippi, was employed by Woodward as the supervisor on the CJ Peete Project. He is accused of expressing "extreme race- and gender-based animosity" on the job site. The complaint states that Jorgensen made derogatory remarks about one of Sturdy Built's owners, an African-American female. He also allegedly talked openly about his intent to bankrupt Sturdy Built.

Louque served as the project manager on the CJ Peete Project. Sturdy Built argues Jorgensen and Louque were "intentional, malicious, reckless, grossly negligent and/or incompetent in the way they handled Sturdy Built, its employees and its work at the CJ Pete Project." They say the men's behavior made it impossible to complete work on the apartment complex.

Sturdy Built is seeking unspecified damages, court costs, attorney fees and interest.

Attorneys James M. Garner, Martha Y. Curtis, Ryan O. Luminais, Gladstone N. Jones III, Lynn E. Swanson, and H.S. Bartlett III, all of New Orleans, are representing Sturdy Built Homes. They are requesting a jury trial.

Orleans Parish District Court Case No. 10-8914

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