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City of Marietta sues over river trail damage

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 8:53 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) - We have some updates to the part of Marietta’s river trail that collapsed and messed up a sewer line in 2020.

About a year has passed since this part of the river trail has been closed however doors to a lawsuit have been opened.

The lawsuit is against companies that did geo-technical engineering and structural engineering work on the trail. Said businesses in question are Professional Service Industries Incorporated, Intertek PSI, Jobes, Henderson, and Associates Incorporated, and Hull and Associates LLC.

The city originally went into a contract with Professional Service Industries Incorporated and Jobes, Henderson, and Associates Incorporated, however both firms were either acquired or merged with the other businesses mentioned. Because of this, all four businesses are being listed because it is not yet decided whether the acquired businesses will be charged separately from the original businesses that went into the contract or as one. This is according to the city’s lead attorney on the case, Mark Evans.

The city claims neither firm lived up to their standard of care, citing multiple errors, including incorrect calculations, designing Duck Creek Wall without adequate information, inaccurate soil examination, and more, according to Evans.

City Councilman Mike Scales said he never imagined what started out as a small crack would turn into this. However, he describes filing the lawsuit as a relief, as it signals the city is moving forward.

Scales added that the river trail was an asset to the community, describing it as a magnet for tourists and locals.

“I was able to ride my bicycle from the end to the other end and get five miles in one way. So a 10 mile round trip. Great exercise. People walked it. When I would ride my bike, you could see people walking up and down it...,” he said.

The cost of damages will continue to pile on but have so far added up to over $25,000, according to Evans. He said that the city has requested for the firms to reimburse costs but the companies refused, which the city is calling a breach of contract.

The city is now claiming that it is entitled to the firms in question paying their legal fees and other professional costs due to an indemnification provision.

Evans said the amount of money the city is asking for has not yet been finalized. It also might be a year or two before we get a complete jury verdict on this case.

WTAP has reached out to both Intertek-PSI and Hull and Associates LLC for comment. Hull’s CEO declined to comment and we have not heard back from Intertek.

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