The Carmel Redevelopment Commission has accepted an $800,000 settlement offer from the engineering firm that reviewed plans for the Palladium concert hall’s roof, inching closer to resolving a years-long legal dispute over its flawed design.
Indianapolis-based Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve Inc. is not named in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit the CRC filed against structural steel supplier Steel Supply & Engineering Co. of Michigan, but the panel had reserved the right to pursue Palladium-related claims against the local firm in the future.
The settlement, which will be paid with a $1 million insurance policy the company carries, is “right on target” with what the CRC expected to collect from the engineer of record, CRC attorney Karl Haas said early this month.
The deal came about as the result of a Sept. 19 mediation conference, CRC Bill Hammer said, hinting that other settlement agreements could be in the works.
“Things are moving,” CRC Executive Director Corrie Meyer said at the panel’s public meeting this week.
Attorneys are preparing for a 2015 trial even as they work to settle the case with SSE, she said, but another mediation session could be held before the end of October.
Lynch Harrison made the settlement offer following an Aug. 15 ruling from Hamilton Superior Judge Steve Nation, who rejected Steel Supply’s request for a summary judgment in the case.
SSE argued that Lynch Harrison was responsible for the faulty design that resulted in a rip in the structural steel web supporting the venue’s domed roof, delaying construction for three months in 2009.
Nation disagreed, writing that Steel Supply & Engineering “cannot wait until after a building is built to question who bears the responsibility for structural integrity.”
“The simple truth is that the parties contracted to build a building,” he wrote in the ruling. “Implicit in that contract is the expectation that bidders would do what they needed to do to ensure that the building stood.”
CRC attorneys have negotiated several legal settlements tied to the Palladium project in the past year: In February, commission members agreed to pay subcontractor Crider & Crider $575,000 for excavation work; in May they OK’d a $730,000 payment to concrete contractor Hagerman Construction Corp.
And last November, they struck a deal with project manager Shiel Sexton Corp., letting the Indianapolis contractor off the hook in exchange for the company’s forgiving more than $200,000 in promissory notes from the CRC and the Palladium. Shiel Sexton also agreed to provide up to 240 hours of project-management services during the investigation and remediation.