Chesapeake schools, contractor face suit

Published 11:55 am Friday, August 1, 2014

CHESAPEAKE — A year after its long sought-after athletic complex opened the Chesapeake School District is facing a civil lawsuit with a subcontractor claiming it was denied payment for its work.

The attorney for the district, however, says the matter is actually a dispute between the two contractors.

Recently Now Service Pro’s LLC filed a lawsuit against the Chesapeake Union Exempted School District and J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors of Portsmouth. J&H was the lead contractor for the project that began in August of 2012. Now Service of Chesapeake was a subcontractor.

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The suit claims that on Sept. 28, 2012, J&H Reinforcing contracted with Now Service to supply work and materials for part of the athletic complex for HVAC plumbing.

“Defendant, J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors Inc., has not paid plaintiff the balance of its contract being $28,036, plus interest,” the suit alleges.

Also because of a theft of copper from the construction site while work was ongoing, the plaintiff was hired to repair and replace that copper.

“The plaintiff has not been paid by the defendants or the insurance company the balance owed of $39,239.24,” the suit also claims. “Plaintiff believes that defendant, Chesapeake Union Exempted School District, has withheld $67,275.24 from its payments to J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors Inc. and continues to hold said sum pending resolution of this matter.”

Now Service claims it complied completely with the terms of its contract and is entitled to immediate payment of $67,275.24, plus interest.

Now Service has also filed an affidavit for a mechanic’s lien on public work, which would place a lien on the funds set aside for the project.

“Plaintiff fully complied with the terms of its contract with defendant, J&H Reinforcing and Structural Erectors, and is entitled to immediate payment,” the suit states. Besides the payment, the plaintiff seeks all attorney fees and costs.

Chesapeake schools attorney Steve Friedman of the Cleveland office of Squire Sanders said the school district must withhold payment to J&H until it and the subcontractor resolve their dispute.

“We have the funds, at a little shy of $70,000, owing to the contractor,” Friedman said. “We hold that until there is a resolution. We hope the contractor and subcontractor can reach an agreement. Then we can release the funds as they instruct us.”

A call to the office of Donald Hadsell of J&H Reinforcing was not returned by press time. Now Service is represented by Richard Bentley of Wolfe & Bentley of Ironton.