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Delayed construction leads to $1 million contract dispute

A high school in Dalton, Georgia built a new addition on its campus in 2010, with the project totaling roughly $13.4 million. However, like on some construction projects, this undertaking was delayed for nearly a year. Due to this stall, the bill jumped to $13.8 million, and as of two weeks ago the Dalton Public School system owed roughly $1 million to the construction firm in charge of the addition.

The contract dispute will enter mediation in March, but there is a delicate issue at stake in the case. Both sides - the construction firm and the school system - are trying to protect their interests.

For the school's side, it is possible they believe the delay in the project is not a wholly legitimate argument. What if the postponement of the project was due to an error on the part of the construction firm? Did the firm purposely stall the project or act in a devious manner to bolster its own pockets? If either situation were true, the school may not be liable for the added construction costs.

On the construction firm's side, they are dealing with powerful and dangerous equipment. They certainly need accurate and verified information in order to finish their job in a timely and correct manner. Seemingly, the delay could have happened because the school changed their vision of how the new structure should look or be equipped. With 65,000 square feet in the new structure, any change or lack of communication about an alteration would add time to the project.

If the mediation session fails, the contract dispute will head to court, where a business attorney could greatly help either side. When your interests are at stake in a business litigation situation, consult an attorney with a wealth of experience in the field who can thoroughly investigate your side of the story and defend your case.

Source: The Daily Citizen, "Dalton schools in contract dispute over $1 million," Rachel Brown, Feb. 17, 2012

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