Archived Story

Trial date set in barn dispute

Published 9:03am Wednesday, February 6, 2013

ROME TOWNSHIP — A date has been set in the civil trial between the Lawrence County Agricultural Society and Jeff Simmons, of Structure Steel Buildings, over the building of the fair barn.

The lawsuits are scheduled to be decided in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court May 28.

In February of 2012 the fair board hired Simmons to build a $400,000 livestock barn for the summertime 4-H Junior Fair. In May the fair board terminated Simmons’ contract alleging he had not completed the work that he was paid $198,000 for and that the project was behind schedule.

After Simmons’ termination the fair board hired another contractor to finish the barn to be ready by the July fair pushing the completed cost for the barn to approximately $700,000.

In June the first lawsuit was filed in the case when Simmons sued the fair board for breach of contract claiming he had met the obligations of his contract and that the fair board wrongfully terminated him from the project.

Simmons’ argument was that he had completed all of the project that he could until the fair board secured the necessary permits and that he was owed all of the money he had received.

In August the fair board countersued seeking $525,000 in damages — $25,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitive damages.

Before the case comes to trial, Lawrence County Magistrate D.L. McWhorter will hear a motion of the fair board to consolidate the two lawsuits into a single trial. That hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

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  • Poor Richard

    What ‘permits’ is the contractor talking about? Lawrence County has no zoning, the project is not near a waterway, what permits? Generally in a construction contract it is the responsibility of the contractor to obtain all permits and follow all local, state and federal regulations, locate all utilities, etc.

    Who was the county representative that was overseeing this project and ensuring that all contract specifications were met by the contractor? Better yet who the heck wrote the contract? Is this another one of those instances where county officials don’t know what the heck they are doing and now because of that lack of knowledge or lack of due diligence are costing taxpayers ‘how much?’ over this lawsuit??? I think it should come out of his or her paycheck. Next time, maybe the county elected whatevers need to hire a construction representative to oversee the work instead of leaving it to amateurs.

    (Report comment)

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