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Ready-Mix disputes lawsuit filed over water plant


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Concrete and water continue to infiltrate the court in Havre.

Havre Ready-Mix has filed an answer and counterclaim to a suit filed by Williams Brothers Construction Co.

Williams Brothers' suit claims problems Ready-Mix had in supplying concrete for construction work to upgrade the Havre water treatment plant has caused delays on the project and expenses to Williams Brothers.

Ready-Mix's counterclaim, filed July 24, says that's not true.

"We were in compliance throughout this entire project," Ready-Mix's attorney, Robert Peterson, said today.

Not only has Ready-Mix supplied the concrete Williams Brothers requested for the project, it supplied more than was originally asked for and hasn't been paid for all it has supplied, Peterson said.

Williams Brothers' original suit was filed against Baltrusch Construction, doing business as Havre Ready-Mix. The companies are seperate entities and that issue has been resolved, Peterson said.

He said there was a problem meeting the specifications for the concrete originally set by the project designer, Carollo Engineers of Boise, Idaho, but Carollo amended its requirements and resolved the problem.

"Havre Ready-Mix has delivered as requested ever since," Peterson said.

The city of Havre amended its contract with Williams Brothers on Nov. 27, 2001, extending the completion date from Oct. 31, 2001, to substantial completion of the addition to the plant by July 31 and final completion by Oct. 31.

Havre and Williams Brothers agreed in the amendment that they would not seek damages from each other if those dates were met.

"It puts the project back to square one from our perspective. Any delays they theoretically could have held against (Ready-Mix) went out the window," Peterson said.

Concrete delivery was late only one time, which was a one-day delay for a small amount of concrete, about five or 10 yards, he said.

The original estimate for concrete needed was 2,000 cubic yards, Peterson said. Ready-Mix has supplied almost a third more than that, about 2,700 cubic yards, he said.

Ready-Mix's counterclaim states that Williams Brothers has signed for receipt of more than $25,000 worth of concrete than it has paid for. The counterclaim asks for damages in the amount of the balance due, plus late payment fees.

The counterclaim also asks for damages of nearly $19,000 for the cost of testing concrete at Williams Brothers's request.

The delays in the project were not caused by Ready-Mix, but by personnel problems Williams Brothers had, Peterson said. Paragraph 4 of the contract amendment required Williams Brothers to remove one of its employees and "replace him with competent personnel."

The amendment states that another employee could remain on the work site if he did not represent himself as project superintendent, subject to review of his performance.

"The delay is primarily about how they had personnel problems in the supervision of the project," Peterson said. "It tells a lot about how difficult it's been for them."

Richard Campbell of Spokane, Wash., the attorney for Williams Brothers, said today there were problems with the concrete meeting the required specifications, that required a lot of testing, causing extra costs and delays. He wouldn't comment on whether Carollo changed the specifications.

He also said all of the concrete that has been supplied has been paid for.


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