Port of New Orleans sued over repair contract related to Katrina damage

By Holland Phillips | Oct 28, 2013

NEW ORLEANS – The construction company that won the bid to repair sewer lift stations in the inner harbor navigational canals is suing the Port of New Orleans Board for allegedly failing to disclose several facts in their contract.

D. J. Robinson Construction Inc. (DJRC) filed suit against the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Aug. 15.

The plaintiff claims that the Port of New Orleans failed to disclose several facts when the plaintiff won a bid to repair the Inner Harbor Navigational Canals’ sewer lift stations,  which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, for $406,208.63.

Upon commencing the project in August 2008, DJRC found that several of the sewer lift station pipes had been so damaged and deteriorated due to inferior composition that they would need to be replaced. The inferior composition of plastic and galvanized iron pipes rendered them “incompatible with the corrosive wastewater environment” according to the plaintiff. DJRC recommended stainless steel replacements as installation of new pipes on existing deteriorated pipes would have been “contrary to good practices.” DJRC claims that it informed the defendant of this fact, but the Port refused to issue a change in orders, thereby delaying the project.

The plaintiff claims that the project was also delayed by the defendant’s failure to disclose and provide DJRC with accurate voltage requirements for the feeder system, wrongly claiming that the plaintiff had damaged the feeder, and its failure to disclose that another station “was designed with the stairs too short for proper use.” DJRC claims that the Port failed to timely ratify critical path change orders, causing delays, and that the Port withheld contractually owed payments due to DJRC.

D. J. Robinson Construction seeks an unspecified amount for all payments due on the contract, lost profits, return of all liquidated damages withheld, damages relating to reputation and good will, attorneys’ fees and costs, and all other damages due for the acts and omissions and breaches of obligation.

The plaintiff is represented by Carline C. Eiselen of New Orleans-based Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith.

The case has been assigned to Division M Judge Paulette R. Irons.

Case no. 2013-07682.

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