Filling the Ophir dam, circa 2008. Photo: Mike Thomas/urbanworkbench.com

Judge orders Rossland to pay contractor’s legal costs in lawsuit

Mayor Moore says she’s unhappy with the decision, but city will move on

Rossland’s mayor says she’s disappointed with a judge’s ruling ordering the city to pay the legal costs of a contractor that sued them over construction of a reservoir 10 years ago.

Last week Justice Mark McEwan ruled the city was responsible for paying the legal fees of the contractor, Maglio Installations, who sued the city over the building of the Ophir Reservoir, constructed between 2006-08.

Earlier this year the same judge awarded Maglio $200,000, saying the city caused the delays which damaged Maglio’s business.

Rossland ordered to pay contractor in Ophir reservoir lawsuit

“I was disappointed because many of the plaintiff’s charges were not proven or were disallowed by the judge,” Moore told the Rossland News. “I was hopeful the costs would be split more equitably between the parties. Ideally, each party paying their own costs. Sadly, this was not the result.”

In his ruling, McEwan said it was essentially a simple case, though drilling down into the particulars made it more complicated than it looked.

“There was no way to achieve exactitude from the amounts given. The city caused the plaintiff’s damage in requiring the plaintiff to put in an extra year on the project. The city unreasonably took the position that the plaintiff was bound by a contract which it modified to the plaintiff’s detriment,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“The plaintiff simply had to wait for the end of the contract to work out the details of the contract. Even then the city did not take the work the plaintiff had done under consideration.

“The plaintiff is entitled to its costs in the circumstances.”

Maglio initially sought more than a million dollars from the city, but that was ruled out by the judge in his initial ruling.

In October, the city paid out a total of $248,594.61 in two cheques to Maglio Installations’ law firm, Pearkes and Fernandez in Nelson.

There’s no immediate word how much this latest ruling will add to the amount the city has already paid. But Moore is trying to look at the bright side of the ruling.

“The good news is that this whole situation is behind us,” she says. “The city has gotten much better and more diligent about tracking our major capital projects, so I don’t anticipate this sort of issue will arise again.”

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