Pitt awarded $6 million for damages during construction of Petersen Events Center

By Shae' Felicien

A Pennsylvania trial court awarded Pitt almost $6 million in a suit involving faulty ventilation… A Pennsylvania trial court awarded Pitt almost $6 million in a suit involving faulty ventilation at the Petersen Events Center.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph M. James issued the judgment last month, which also included a $204,000 counterclaim for the contractors, according to court documents.

Pitt filed the suit in 2004 against two firms, Apostolou Associates, based in Mt. Washington, and Rosser International, based in Atlanta. The suit sought damages “resulting from the actions, errors and omissions of defendants committed during the design and construction of … the Petersen Center,” according to court documents.

The defendants engaged in a joint partnership to install the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system for the Petersen Events Center, which opened in 2002.

According to court documents, on Jan. 7, James ruled that the defendants “failed to perform its design work with due care in and in a manner that met the applicable standard of care.” The judge concluded that the defendants breached their contract, which resulted in the damages sought by Pitt.

The court awarded the University $3,614,026 for heating, ventilation and air conditioning remediation; $1,337,365 for professional error and omission of change orders; $378,419 for administrative costs; and $600,000 for court settlement fees, for a total of $5,959,810.

The defendants were successful in their counterclaim suit for $204,000, which was based on an increase to the project’s initial $4 million allocation. Pitt has filed for post-trial relief to avoid paying the defendants.

University spokesman John Fedele declined to comment. Representatives from Rosser and Apostolou could not be immediately reached for comment.

The defendants are seeking a new trial based on their belief that the University did not present sufficient evidence showing that they failed to do their work in any way or improperly installed the HVAC system, according to court documents.