Pella Chronicle

Local News

August 6, 2010

Pella wins civil suit, awarded $788K

Pella — It apparently did not take a jury long to find in favor of the City of Pella in its lawsuit against Central Electric Company.The City of Pella filed the lawsuit against CEC in 2006, when upon inspecting lighting fixtures in the City’s aquatic center pool, it was discovered that an electrical conduit was made from steel, and not red brass as specified in the contract. Rust from the steel had bled through onto the pool walls. Corrosion and possible electrical problems became concerns for the City.

“No water can escape the inside of that pool,” Blom testified. “It cannot leak through the concrete.”Blom told the jury Tuesday morning that he did not tell anyone to use steel instead of the red brass on the project. He testified that the necessary red brass materials had been purchased for the project, and he showed the jury a box of them while on the stand. Blom admitted his understanding that the installation of the steel was a deviation from the City’s specifications. He did not seek a change order, nor approval to deviate from the specifications.

The jury found CEC in breach of contract. The City of Pella was awarded $600,000 in damages. Another $188,000 was awarded the city in punitive damages.Merchants Bond Company, performance bond holder on the project, is liable under the terms and conditions of its performance bond. Pella City Attorney Bob Stuyvesant explains that this was not an insurance policy.

Instead, if the City chooses to hire a contractor to make repairs, MBC could hire a contractor to do the work or pay the City $188,000.Stuyvesant did not know what the City’s intentions were regarding the pool.

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