Manatee County Government Administrative Center Commission Chambers, First Floor 9:00 a.m. - July 28, 2015
REVISED July 28, 2015 - Regular Meeting
Agenda Item #11

Manatee County v. Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK); EOC roof failure; approval of settlement of lawsuit and dismissal


Contact and/or Presenter Information

Christopher M. De Carlo, Assistant County Attorney

Trudy Morris, Legal Assistant, Ext. 3762

Action Requested
Motion to authorize settlement of the lawsuit filed by Manatee County against Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK) for payment by HOK of the amount of $50,000.00, and to authorize the County Attorney or his designee to sign all appropriate settlement paperwork. 

Enabling/Regulating Authority
Chapter 125, Florida Statutes

Background Discussion

The Board of County Commissioners authorized the County Attorney's Office to pursue all appropriate legal action, including filing and prosecution of a lawsuit against HOK arising from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) roof failure.  In 2006, HOK designed a roof assembly for the County EOC and engaged a full time on-site representative to monitor the construction of the roof in 2006 and 2007.  

In 2013 and 2014, a comprehensive investigation by experts retained by the County, and the other two involved parties (contractor Balfour Beatty and Sutter Roofing), revealed that the original roof system would not meet the wind uplift requirements and life expectancy as originally stated.  The materials were failing, in part, because of HOK's design and failure to conduct moisture testing. 

The roofing system was reconstructed and now meets the County's requirement for a roof  to withstand 200 mph wind speeds and a 20 year warranty.  Sutter Roofing contributed their services and materials at cost and Balfour Beatty contributed $50,000.00 cash to settle. 

HOK was requested to settle with the County for the design of the roof, but HOK took the position that it was not responsible for the defective design and/or construction, the resultant damages and defects in the roof, any damages sustained by the EOC building, or the costs of the subsequent repair.  Negotiations failed and Manatee County filed suit against HOK in May of 2015. 

On July 1, 2015, the Manatee County's Attorney's Office received notice that HOK agrees to contribute $50,000.00 in exchange for dismissal of the recently filed litigation.  

The County Attorney's Office believes that the potentially serious problem at the EOC has now been fully cured.  With Balfour Beatty's contribution of $50,000.00 in settlement, the HOK $50,000.00 settlement, Sutter Roofing's waiver of its profits, and a Florida Power and Light rebate of $25,425.00, the County has offset its expenses in the range of $150,000.00 to $200,000.00.  Note also that the County received roughly one-third of the life expectancy from the original roof.

Taking into account the various contributions set forth above and the considerable additional expense that would be involved in continued litigation, the County Attorney's Office requests authority to accept the $50,000.00 contribution from HOK to settle the County's claim against HOK and any/all other potential claims against HOK in exchange for dismissal of the referenced lawsuit.

County Attorney Review
Other (Requires explanation in field below)

Explanation of Other
This is a County Attorney item.

Reviewing Attorney

Instructions to Board Records
Return an "approved" copy of this agenda memo to via email to Trudy.morris@mymanatee.org.

Cost and Funds Source Account Number and Name

Amount and Frequency of Recurring Costs