Although PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened on time, it came at a price and with controversy. Additional costs were incurred to accelerate the fabrication and erection of the structural steel, and to accelerate follow-on trades at the baseball stadium for the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball.
One week after the stadium opened, litigation commenced in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The design/build construction manager (“CM”) and the owner sued the surety for the structural steel subcontractor seeking $25 million in damages, claiming that all of the delays were caused by the structural steel subcontractor. Meanwhile, the surety also sought $10 million from the CM. Two years later, the case had not yet completed discovery, although the equivalent of more than 1,000 boxes of documents had been exchanged.
At that point, the surety switched legal counsel and retained Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP to move the complex litigation forward. Watt Tieder proceeded to take and defend more than 70 depositions; to identify and engage experts in scheduling, delay, quantification of damages, structural engineering, detailing, fabrication and erection; to move for and against summary judgment; and to prepare for trial.
Watt Tieder was able to obtain a court order requiring the CM to turn over documents indicating that the CM and owner had concealed the fact that they had already been compensated by an insurance carrier who was actually funding and pursuing the litigation. Watt Tieder moved for summary judgment on behalf of the surety based on this previously concealed settlement arrangement.
In a 142-page opinion, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Watt Tieder’s surety client and eliminated the entire $25 million claim that had been asserted in the name of the CM and the owner, leaving only the surety’s affirmative claim for $10 million pending for trial. Shortly before trial, the surety obtained a favorable confidential settlement concluding the matter.