Now that the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit Center has opened in Silver Spring, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., a legal battle among project participants is set to begin.
A negligence suit has been filed by project owners Washington Metro and Montgomery County against its designer Parsons Brinckerhoff, builder Foulger-Pratt Contracting LLC and an inspection firm, following a five-year project delay and what is estimated to be $50 million in cost overruns.
The Aug. 24 suit in county circuit court seeks $166 million in damages. Construction of the 259,000-sq-ft, cast-in-place rail, bus and taxi hub had been plagued by evidence of surface cracking and spalling of concrete.
In the 25-count complaint, plaintiffs are alleging defects in the Parsons design and in its project oversight, as well as rampant defects in the contractor’s construction, along with the failure of inspection firm, The Robert B. Balter Co., to detect the alleged flaws. The suit contends that Parsons “refused to help correct the critical design defects related to the impact of shear and torsion forces on the elevated levels of the facility.”
In a statement, Judah Lifschitz, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney for Foulger-Pratt, fired back, stating that problems on the project “are of the county's own making,” citing “gross mismanagement,” and claiming “The County failed at every turn to properly manage the project and, in particular, mitigate the impact of its design defects.”
Lifschitz said the contractor “will vigorously defend this case. Far from Foulger-Pratt owing the County or WMATA money, Foulger-Pratt and its subcontractors are owed millions of dollars.”