City of Glendale settles lawsuit against design firm hired for reservoir project

The City Council announced this week that it has agreed to a $170,000 settlement in a 2013 lawsuit that Glendale filed against the design-engineer firm hired to work on a backup project for Diederich Reservoir.

According to the original negligence lawsuit, the faulty plans prepared by the firm, GEI Consultants of Massachusetts, cost Glendale $993,000 due to change orders, delay fees and other costs.

City Atty. Mike Garcia said via email that the city settled for less than the claimed damages because it could only attribute $170,000 in costs to GEI Consultants.

"As we went through discovery and parsed out the different claims, we feel the settlement amount is what can fairly be attributed to the design consultant," Garcia said.

The city had hired GEI Consultants in 2008 to design a 30-inch backup line to run parallel to a 48-inch main line and later hired a contractor, Vido Artukovich & Sons, to build the line.

When the contractor began its work in 2011, however, it became clear that GEI Consultants failed to identify several utility issues that conflicted with its design, according to the lawsuit.

GEI Consultants redesigned the backup pipeline, but in the meantime, the city racked up the hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra fees, including costs of building the changed design, change orders from the consultant and a settlement to the contractor for the delay, court records show.

The project was finally completed in October 2012.

A message left for a spokeswoman for GEI Consultants was not returned by deadline.

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