Stalling Claimed In Cameron Suit

MOUNDSVILLE – Parties in a lawsuit filed last year against the Marshall County Board of Education over construction issues with Cameron High School are accusing the board of excessively delaying the case, costing them additional legal fees and delaying payments they believe are owed to them.

As a result, board of education members soon could be called to testify under oath in the case, which currently resides in West Virginia’s business court.

According to court documents on file in Marshall County, Scalise Industries Corp. and Gito Inc., on behalf of Nello Construction of Canonsburg, Pa., and its subcontractor, Cost Co. of Pittsburgh, both allege the board has caused numerous delays in mediation since the lawsuit was filed Jan. 25, 2013, costing the companies excessive legal fees and delaying compensation.

In February, the board filed a motion to continue mediation originally scheduled for Feb. 18, claiming its new insurance counsel had received in “excess of 100,000 pages of documents” dealing with the lawsuit less than two weeks prior to the mediation meeting. The motion states the board’s attorney needed more time to review the documents since they were provided in digital form and had to be being printed and reviewed.

Scalise responded to the motion, claiming the board has delayed the case at every chance possible. Scalise argued the board has been in possession of litigation documents for months in a case that has been pending for more than a year.

Gito Inc. also opposed the board’s motion, stating all parties must review the same documents.

Scalise also said the board has delayed responses to discovery, rejected earlier requests for mediation and filed motions and papers resulting in delays to scheduling order dates.

Both Scalise and Gito also cited the board’s attempt to add the project’s architect – McKinley & Associates of Wheeling – as a third-party defendant as causing unnecessary delays.

Aug. 31 has been set for completion of discovery, with trial in the matter set for Nov. 10. Involved parties – including school district officials and board of education members – could be called to provide depositions as early as this month.

The original lawsuit charges that Cost had completed its work in September 2012 despite delays that had reached in excess of $1 million, caused solely by the board’s actions.

In responding to its addition as a third party, Scalise officials estimated the company is owed in excess of $2 million in additional labor and materials.

That does not include work on an additional cooling tower, which Scalise was asked to do.