Settlement reached in lawsuit over Bluffton High roof, floor

sbowman@beaufortgazette.comMarch 11, 2014 

FILE: Students stand outside Bluffton High School as school lets out on Dec. 5, 2009.

STAFF PHOTO

A nearly four-year legal battle over roof and floor problems at Bluffton High School has come to an end after a settlement last month, school officials said Tuesday.

The Beaufort County School District would not provide the amount of the settlement until consulting with its attorneys, of the Columbia-based Childs & Halligan law firm, school board Chairman Bill Evans said.

"We thought we got the best deal we were going to get," Evans said. "Frankly, too, we were trying to avoid any more costs of going to court, for example."

The district and companies it sued over alleged faulty construction -- including the contractor, the architect and some subcontractors and materials providers -- were expected to head to trial last month after multiple attempts at mediation failed.

A dollar amount for the damages could not be reached during previous mediation, Evans said.

Evans has said the district can identify more than $900,000 it has spent on repairs since the school opened in 2004. He said that amount does not include litigation costs. The district sought actual damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.

The problems include a leaking roof and a floor that separated from the foundation.

The district sued contractor Skanska USA Building Inc. and subcontractor Osborn Contract Services Inc. in May 2010 and later added Watson Tate Savory Liollio Architecture Inc. and Cumming Construction Management Inc.

Attempts Tuesday to reach representatives of Skanska and the other companies were unsuccessful. Evans has said they all denied being at fault.

Follow reporter Sarah Bowman at twitter.com/IPBG_Sarah.

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