Aftermath of That Morning in December 2014
Sometimes you follow your gut, and the resistance you encounter tells you you’re onto something, so you push harder. I FOILed the Thruway Authority shortly after the batch plant accident more than two years ago and was consistently stalled.
What the agency gave me was five internal emails from TZC stating an incident happened, and no one was hurt. Thankfully. My FOIL request ended with a project official calling me “to tidy things up,” after which the Thruway Authority’s legal department told me it considered the matter closed.
Really? Here’s what I recently found that confirmed I was on the right track.
Concrete Silo Collapse By Jenna Ebersole
Law360, Washington (January 7, 2016, 8:19 PM EST) — The contractor replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York sued two companies based in Wisconsin and Switzerland Thursday in New York federal court, accusing them of shoddy work that led to the collapse of silos on a concrete plant mounted to a marine barge in the Hudson River in 2014.
Tappan Zee Constructors LLC said Maxon Industries Inc. and X-Tec Swiss AG designed and constructed defective silos, seeking at least $25.7 million for higher costs as a result, including labor, equipment and other construction costs. The group said that the silos on one barge that collapsed in December 2014 were defective and that the constructors discovered similar defects with the second plant.
“Defendants’ acts or omissions to act, including their deficient and inadequate structural design of the silos in accordance with the applicable silo-design code service loads, and their failure to construct hopper and vertical wall steel plating thickness in accordance with X-Tec’s own fabrication shop drawings, caused the collapse,” the group said.
The constructors said they signed an agreement in May 2013 with Maxon for two batch plants, including the silos, after coming to an agreement on two new bridge structures over the Hudson between Rockland County and Westchester County. Maxon then entered an agreement with X-Tec for certain designs, the group said.
“Maxon and X-Tec knew that the batch plants were to be mounted on marine barges and used on the Hudson River,” Tappan Zee Constructors said.
Maxon was [nearly one year] late on a promised Aug. 1, 2013, supplying of the plants, the constructors said, but they were used as intended until the collapse of one silo [December 2014], which pulled down two adjacent silos. The group then discovered defects with both plants, the constructors said.
The complaint said the constructors group “was compelled to stop using the batch plants and required to materially alter its concrete operations until it determined and effectuated appropriate modifications and repairs to the batch plants and obtained a third batch plant to supplement its operations.”
The group alleges breach of contract, negligence and malpractice, among other claims.
“Defendants acted negligently and breached their duty of care by, among other things, providing an inadequate structural design of the silos under applicable silo-design code service loads,” the constructors said.
Representatives for the parties could not immediately be reached for comment late Thursday.
The constructors group includes Fluor Enterprises Inc., American Bridge Company, Granite Construction Northeast Inc.and Traylor Bros. Inc. in a joint venture, according to its website.
Tappan Zee Constructors is represented by Paul Monte of Peckar & Abramson PC.
Counsel information for Maxon Industries and X-Tec Swiss was not immediately available Thursday.
The case is Tappan Zee Constructors LLC v. Maxon Industries Inc. and X-Tec Swiss AG, case number 1:16-cv-00126, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
–Editing by Patricia K. Cole
Reprinted from http://www.law360.com