CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County plans to sue over additional costs it’s expended after no bond beam was found in its jail structure.
Last summer the county contracted ABM Industries to oversee the completion of a $9.3 million renovation project at the jail.
But in May an unexpected and very costly discovery was made while renovations were being done.
While removing skylights and installing the new roofing system, ABM discovered there was no bond beam in the roof structure.
The bond beam provides reinforced structural support and resistance to stresses like wind, weather and so forth.
“ABM discovered that when the jail was originally constructed in 1981, it lacked a bond beam,” explained Commissioner John Sobel.
“Also, further investigation revealed that someone was deceptive because end-of-project plans indicated there was a bond beam.”
It’s left Clearfield County to shoulder the financial load of just over $2.9 million for added work to alleviate the problem.
But now the county has dealt with the structural issue, it’s looking to recoup costs so it doesn’t fall upon the taxpayer.
The commissioners consulted with D’Amico Law Offices LLC of Pittsburgh, which it officially hired Tuesday to initiate a lawsuit.
“We’re prepared to move forward with a complaint naming parties we believe are responsible,” said Attorney Anthony D’Amico.
“The job was never done, never completed, although the specifications … clearly stated a bond beam was to be included.
“The bond beam secures the entire structure and roof and because it wasn’t included, the county’s had to spend substantial funds.
“So, it’s our intention now to recoup those monies that were spent over and above because no bond beam was included.”
The firm declined to name any defendants prior to the lawsuit’s filing, which should occur in early January.
D’Amico Law Offices will be paid on a contingency fee basis of 25 percent of recovered monies, plus costs.
The firm successfully represented the county in opioid litigation, Sobel said, adding it’s particularly experienced in this area of law.
“They represented us well before,” said Commissioner Dave Glass, “and believe they have a case here. We should let them make it.”