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Town of Jonesboro v. Pittsburg Tank and Tower Maintenance Co., Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

October 3, 2018

TOWN OF JONESBORO
v.
PITTSBURG TANK AND TOWER MAINTENANCE CO., INC.

          KAREN L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a suit filed by Plaintiff Town of Jonesboro (“Jonesboro”) against Defendant Pittsburg Tank and Tower Maintenance Co., Inc. (“Pittsburg Tank”) alleging that Pittsburg Tank breached a contract to perform maintenance services (the “Project”) on a Jonesboro municipal water tank and tower (the “Water Tower”).

         Pending before the Court is Pittsburg Tank's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 32]. Jonesboro has filed an Opposition [Doc. No. 36], and Pittsburg Tank has filed a Reply [Doc. No. 37]. For the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. FACTS

         Pittsburg Tank maintains and refurbishes storage tanks nationwide for both private and governmental entities. James Bradford (“Mayor Bradford”) was elected Mayor of Jonesboro in 2014 and assumed office January 1, 2015. On the day he was sworn in, he declared that his number one priority was to try to get the Water Tower repaired. On January 23, 2015, at Mayor Bradford's request, Pittsburg Tank inspected the Water Tower and found numerous maintenance issues, both cosmetic and functional.

         In April, 2015, Mayor Bradford began consulting with Chris W. Patrick, P.E. (“Patrick”), an engineer with the Denmon Engineering firm, regarding the Water Tower maintenance issues. Mayor Bradford asked Patrick to arrange for a second opinion on the Water Tower.

         On May 6, 2015, Water Tank Services, LLC (“WTS”) inspected the Water Tower and provided a proposal for $450, 000 worth of work, including the application of an epoxy/polyurethane exterior coating system. A copy of the proposal was provided to Patrick. Mayor Bradford ultimately rejected WTS's bid.

         In July, Pittsburg Tank sent a list of suggested repairs, along with a pricing sheet, to Mayor Bradford. A copy was provided to Patrick.

         Jonesboro had no money to pay for repairs; however, Mayor Bradford secured a $100, 000 donation from Jonesboro State Bank to pay for work on the Water Tower. Using those funds, Mayor Bradford decided to spend $98, 490 on having Pittsburg Tank undertake the following item (hereinafter the “Base Contract”):

Pressure wash the tank exterior with biodegradable detergent (minimum 3, 500 psi at 3.0 gpm) then remove all loose rust and scale with wire brushes and hand scrapers in accordance with SSPC #2 (hand tool cleaning), spot prime and apply one (1) finish coat of alkyd enamel. This will include replacing the existing logo.[1]

         In October, 2015, Jonesboro added the following five (5) additional items, totaling $97, 485 (hereinafter “Change Order No. 1”):

(1) Three interior items totaling $82, 700, as follows:
a. Sandblast the interior rusted and abraded surfaces to an SSPC SP-10;
b. Sandblast the remaining surfaces to an SSPC SP7; and c. Apply NSF approved epoxy to 8-10 mils.
(2) Two exterior items totaling$14, 785 as follows:
a. Adjust the windage rods and riser stay rods as needed; and
b. Replace the existing roof vent with a vacuum-pressure vent ...

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