Judge rules that Hope Mills can sue for dam failure
Posted July 9, 2013
Hope Mills, N.C. — A Superior Court judge out of Mecklenburg County says the town of Hope Mills can sue a half-dozen companies that it claims are responsible for a $14 million dam that failed three years ago.
Superior Court Judge Erwin Spainhour ruled Monday that the engineering, construction and insurance firms can be sued for breach of contract but that the town cannot sue the businesses for negligence.
Spainhour also ruled that if the town wins the lawsuit, damages would be assessed on each defendant individually, not jointly.
Concrete on the Hope Mills Lake Dam failed in June 2010, 18 months after it was built to replace an earthen dam that burst during heavy rains in 2003.
Repairs were initially expected to be complete by October, but work has yet to begin.
The case is scheduled to go to trial next July, but the town's Board of Commissioners, which met Tuesday afternoon to review Spainhour's ruling, have said that they hope to reach a settlement before then.
The defendants – Crowder Construction Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance, McKim & Creed Inc., AMEC Environmental & Infrastructure Inc., Morrison Engineers PLLC, Mosher Engineering Inc. and Timothy L. LaBounty P.E. – have declined to comment on the lawsuit.