University of Iowa practice facility in middle of legal dispute

Multiple lawsuits filed over payments for construction costs

Published: January 3 2014 | 10:30 am - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:35 am in

A legal battle is underway over payments for construction costs related to the building of the University of Iowa's football practice facility.

According to an amended petition filed in November in Johnson County, nine businesses have joined Wellman-based Townsend Crane Service in it's lawsuit against the Iowa state Board of Regents and the contractor for the $55 million practice facility, the Brookfield, Wis.-based Samuels Group, Inc. Townsend Crane Service states in the court documents that it is owed nearly $68,000. The claims of the other nine businesses are not listed in the amended petition.

Townsend Crane Services is a subcontractor on the practice facility project, the first phase of which was awarded to the Samuels Group by the Board of Regents in September 2011. The Samuels Group, in turn, contracted services to Guilford Building Services, which contracted with C & C Erecting Inc., which contracted with Townsend Crane Service. Townsend Crane Service claims in it's lawsuit it provided services to the contracting groups throughout the first phase of the project, which was completed in 2012. The entire facility is anticipated to be finished this year.

The lawsuit states the Board of Regents signed a certificate of completion for the first phase of the project, but the Samuels Group did not pay Townsend Crane Service for the duties performed.

However, the Samuels Group filed its own federal lawsuit against subcontractors North Carolina-based Guilford Building Systems and Florida-based Kingspan Insulated Systems. In that lawsuit, filed August 2012, the Samuels Group states in contracted with Guilford for the practice facility's sheet metal flashing and trim, joint sealants and insulated-core metal wall panels. Guilford contracted with Kingspan to manufacture the panels, according to the lawsuit.

The Samuels Group alleges the first batch of metal panels was defective and later led to a stop work order. This also led the university to order the Samuels Group to "accelerate the installation of the insulated metal panels," the documents state.

"In response to the University of Iowa's order to accelerate construction, Samuels incurred additional costs," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that in July 2012, stack joints panels in the facility were rejected. Additionally, while the project was largely finished in August 2012, the insulated metal walls were not, the lawsuit states.

In June and July of that year, Guilford and Kingspan filed claims against the Samuels Group. The Samuels Group lawsuit filed against Guilford and Kingspan claims both companies breached their contract. The lawsuit claims the Samuels Group owes no money to either company and is seeking unspecified damages.

Guilford and Kingspan have filed motions requesting the lawsuit be dismissed due to the lawsuit. A ruling on the motions has not been issued.

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