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OXNARD : City Sues Firm Over Engineering Work

The city of Oxnard has sued a Ventura engineering firm, claiming that the company’s negligence resulted in a $1.9-million damage award against the city.

According to the suit, filed this week in Ventura County Superior Court, Boyle Engineering was hired in 1986 to do the engineering for $45 million in public improvements at the city’s Northeast Industrial Assessment District on Del Norte Boulevard.

Among the projects that Boyle planned were three miles of storm drains for the eastern end of the 1,600-acre district. The city awarded a contract to B & Sons Construction of Oxnard to build the drains. But when the contractor started digging in June, 1988, it found the soil contaminated with hydrocarbons, apparently from petroleum installations that were once on the site.

City Atty. Gary L. Gillig said state laws governing the handling and disposal of contaminated soil made it impossible to use Boyle’s plans, and the city had to cancel its contract with B & Sons. The city paid the contractor $1.1 million for its trouble, and in July a Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that the city must pay B & Sons an additional $1.9 million in damages.

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Gillig said the city has appealed that award and is suing Boyle on the grounds that it should have discovered the contamination when it designed the drains. The drains have since been constructed along another route.

Boyle’s attorney, Susan D. Isselhard, did not return a call seeking comment.

No hearing has been set on the case, and Gillig said it probably will not go to trial for at least three years. It has been assigned to Judge Bruce A. Thompson.


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