Multnomah County's dispute with the construction firm that renovated part of a Portland bridge will not be heard in court for almost a year following a judge's decision to schedule a trial for September 15, 2014. The Oregon county hopes civil litigation will help it recoup costs it incurred on the bridge repair after the construction firm's repairs failed and caused considerable structural problems less than two years after the renovation.
Multnomah County hired the construction company to replace decades-old grating with stronger, more skid resistant varieties. However, panels began to crack, fall apart and unfasten themselves within months of the project's completion. The construction firm was the first to take action, filing claims against the companies that made and sold the updated parts. The county responded by filing a lawsuit that names all three firms as defendants, demanding over $2 million to cover repairing the bridge.
Engineers say the bridge is safe for use for the time being, but the county says it must correct the damage the structure has incurred since its renovation. It is unclear how the other two defendants have reacted to the accusations against them, but the construction firm insists that the problems were due to faulty building materials and they are not responsible for the flaws.
In a separate matter, Multnomah County is reportedly in talks with the construction firm regarding the fees it refused to pay when the problems with the build became apparent. While the county is unwilling to pay the firm for the whole cost of the project, it is reportedly open to a settlement that would provide the company with a partial payment.
Oregon's civil litigation system offers a valuable outlet for disputes between government entities and private bodies. Individuals, businesses, organizations or government agencies can file lawsuits aimed at compensating them for alleged wrongs. The impartiality of the court, with thee addition of a comprehensive appeals system, ensures that the law sides with the deserving party.
Oregon Live, "Morrison Bridge lawsuit trial date set for September 2014" Kelly House, Oct. 11, 2013