Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman, Inc., an engineering construction firm based out of Brandford, has filed a lawsuit in New London Superior Court alleging Kiewit Infrastructure, the company contracted to manage the construction of the State Pier project, owes them more than $800k.
According to the complaint, initially filed in November and updated at the end of February, which also names Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America and the Connecticut Port Authority (CPA) as defendants, Blakeslee was hired in December 2020 as a subcontractor on the project. They were charged with the demolition and removal of mooring dolphins, structures that allow boats to moor, berth, or otherwise secure themselves near shore, and signed a contract for the expected cost of $1,877,290.
Blakeslee says that following an underwater survey of the project, they discovered that the concrete “piles had numerous splices that were not structurally sound because of improper design, poor construction, and/or extensive corrosion.” The damage meant that removing the piles and moorings would require a different approach, including removal by divers, and that the project would go over the initial budget.
The complaint states that Blakeslee made changes to the project plan, schedule, and costs under the direction of Kiewit and filed daily reports from the field. They state that “throughout the Project, Kiewit never instructed Blakeslee not to perform the extra work and indeed instructed and directed Blakeslee to continue its work, including the extra work, while the change order process was pending.”
In October 2021, according to the filing, Kiewit told Blakeslee that the CPA had authorized an additional $385,000 for the work which Blakeslee rejected as it did not amount to the total costs.
Additionally, Blakeslee is alleging that Kiewit intentionally requested the company to perform work outside the scope of the initial contract so that it would benefit financially, and that Kiewit’s delay in submitting Blakeslee’s change orders to the Port Authority “from at least September 2021 to January 2022, damaged Blakeslee and severely prejudiced its claim.”
The suit claims five counts against the defendants, including Breach of Contract, violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Unfair Enrichment. Blakeslee is seeking payment of the money owed for the work, as well as compensatory damages, interest, attorneys fees, and restitution.
On January 23, Kiewit and Travelers submitted a Motion to Strike the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act violations “as it does not allege an underlying violation of the Connecticut Unfair Insurance Practices Act as required under Connecticut law.” They have also requested to strike the breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing because it “is legally insufficient in that it fails to allege facts that establish the dishonest or sinister purpose required of that claim.”
A judge had not yet ruled on that motion.
The case is set for a pre-trial conference on March 29th. CII reached out to representatives from both Kiewit Infrastructure and the Connecticut Port Authority for comment. A representative for Kiewit said the company does not comment on pending litigation. Representatives for the Port Authority have not yet responded.