Water-Related News

Tampa Bay Water Settles with Contractor in Reservoir Lawsuit

Tampa Bay Water's board struck an unusual settlement deal Monday with the contractor that built its damaged regional reservoir, setting up a courtroom confrontation with HDR Engineering, the company that the utility and the contractor blame for cracks in the structure.

Normally when two sides in a lawsuit settle, one side pays the other some money to be released from the case. But the settlement that the regional utility's board approved after a closed-door session with its attorney calls for Montana-based Barnard Construction Co. to pay Tampa Bay Water no less than $750,000 and no more than $5 million in damages, depending on what a jury finds when the case goes to trial later this year.

The reason for the unusual arrangement, said Tampa Bay Water attorney Richard Harrison, is simple: Barnard Construction agrees with the utility that "the real culprit here is HDR, because the cracking was caused by their bad design." ...