The insurer of a construction company hired to repair Glendale slopes after the 2005 mudslide has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the city, claiming the contractor was underpaid for excavation work that turned out to be much more intensive than what was advertised.
Hartford Fire Insurance Co., which filed the lawsuit Nov. 1, is seeking $450,000 in damages -- nearly as much as the city agreed to pay the contractor, Remedial Civil Constructors Inc., in 2009.
The lawsuit comes as the city continues to deal with the aftermath of the mudslides that destroyed homes along Gladys Drive and Glenmore Boulevard after the heavy rains of 2005.
When Remedial Civil Constructors began construction, it found more work than originally described, according to the lawsuit filed this month in the Central District Court of California. There was more soil to excavate and a deeper retaining wall to fix, work that cost more than the $425,000 Glendale agreed to pay in an October 2009 contract, according to court records filed by the company.
City Atty. Mike Garcia said officials tried to resolve the spat, but both sides were “too far apart to reach an agreement.”
“We will continue to seek resolution,” he said by email Monday. “But if we are not successful, we will defend vigorously because we believe our position is supported by the contract and the law.”
According to the lawsuit, Glendale withheld $150,000 from the construction company for not finishing the work on time.
This isn’t the first time city officials have been faced with a legal fight as a result of the mudslide. The city paid out nearly $15.4 million for damage claims and attorney’s costs from residents displaced by the disaster several years ago.
Since then it has been settling legal affairs, recouping $1.1 million from its insurer, $200,000 from an engineering consultant, and $98,500 from a Pasadena law firm that worked on mudslide matters.
The city also garnered $700,000 in September after auctioning off five damaged parcels of land it got through settlements with affected residents.
Hartford Fire Insurance Company is demanding a jury trial, according to court records.
-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News