A years-long dispute between the city of Dunwoody and a contractor over who should repair a cracked and sinking section of Mount Vernon Road is over after both sides decided to walk away from dueling lawsuits.
The City Council voted Jan. 13 to drop its 2018 lawsuit against GS Construction after the company agreed to drop its countersuit as part of the settlement agreement. The settlement agreement, however, was contingent on Lowe Engineering, the firm the city pays for public works services, shelling out $34,000 to GS Construction. All parties involved denied liability as part of the agreement.
“I’m not happy with it … but this is the best way to end this silliness,” said Councilmember Jim Riticher.
When Mount Vernon Road might be repaved by the city is unclear. The city has temporarily patched the section of damaged road near the Chamblee-Dunwoody Road intersection and it is safe for motorists, according to the city.
“It is not tremendously urgent to pave, and we will [let] Public Works make that decision,” said Mayor Lynn Deutsch.
The lawsuit and countersuit stem from a 2015 contract the city awarded to GS Construction for nearly $2.4 million. The contract included GS Construction replacing a DeKalb County water main along Mount Vernon and then paving the road. As part of the project, Lowe Engineering provided some project management and oversight services to the city.
The city alleged GS Construction failed to fulfill the contract because its work was “defective” and resulted in an approximately 150-foot-long section of the road to crack and sink within the one-year warranty. The city demanded the construction company pay to cover costs to repair the road and other legal fees.
GS Construction CEO Alessandro Salvo said the city was at fault for requiring the wrong kind of dirt to fill the trenches around the new water main. That dirt, Salvo said, is what led to the sinking and cracking and it is the city’s responsibility to repair.
His company countersued and alleged in the lawsuit the city breached the contract “by its complete failure to acknowledge and be responsible for its own error.” GS Construction demanded the city pay its legal fees.
As part of the settlement, both sides agreed to pay their own legal fees.