Huntsville reaches settlement on Madison Co. Jail construction dispute

Metro Jail (Source: WAFF)
Metro Jail (Source: WAFF)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The city of Huntsville reached a tentative settlement agreement with four of the partied involved in a legal dispute over construction on the Madison County Jail.

According to the city attorney, Peter Joffrion, the documents for the agreement begins the process of drawing the jail litigation to a close. It resolves several claims contractors had against the City of Huntsville.

Joffrion said he anticipates settlements with two or more of the remaining defendants within the next several months.

"There are no winners here," said Joffrion. "Every party in this litigation has experienced some of the pain in what has been an extremely long and complicated process. In the end, it is advantageous to the taxpayer and to all parties involved that this litigation is finally drawing to a close."

Joffrion said taxpayer money will not be used in the settlement. Dawson General Contractors will receive money from insurance firms. Additional money paid to the settlement fund will be split 50-50 between Dawson and the city.

The Public Building Authority hired Dawson in 2004 to build the jail for about $25 million. When inspectors discovered faulty cracks in a support beam, the project stopped, and Dawson was released as contractor. Lee Builders eventually completed the jail in 2010 at an additional $50 million cost.

Since then, the building authority sued Dawson and several of the company's subcontractors for the cost overruns. Dawson counter-sued the building authority for $9 million in unpaid work.

The ongoing litigation cost the city about $3.5 million. About half of that was used to diagnose deficiencies in design and construction, and redesign the remaining work, so the facility could be completed.

Pending the city's approval Thursday night, the settlement agreements eliminate the need for trial, scheduled for October 2015.

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