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Trial set in Carmel's complaint on Palladium construction

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Mediation is scheduled for May 21 in a 2-year-old lawsuit the city of Carmel brought over defects discovered during construction of its signature Palladium concert hall.

Barring a last-minute settlement between the Carmel Redevelopment Commission and Michigan-based contractor Steel Supply & Engineering Co. or a delay, Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation will begin a two-week bench trial June 10.

Construction of the $119 million Palladium stopped for about three months in 2009 after an inspection revealed a rip in the structural steel supporting the venue’s domed roof. Work resumed after extensive repairs.

Carmel filed suit in 2011, saying Steel Supply failed to properly fabricate steel for the project. It is seeking about $5 million in damages.

Steel Supply has denied liability, laying the blame on a flawed design it says caused some of the steel columns supporting the roof to fail. Design duties were the responsibility of the project engineer, who is not named in the lawsuit, according to a statement from defense attorney Pfenne Cantrell.

“All fabrication drawings were approved by the construction manager, the architect and the engineer of record prior to fabrication, and the steel that was supplied and erected conformed with those approved drawings,” said Cantrell, of Indianapolis-based Kightlinger & Gray LLP.

Palladium roof problems have persisted, and the city last month said the venue would undergo another $140,000 in repairs. Crews were to retrofit the roof trusses, a news release said, welding additional stiffeners and small plates into place.

Court records show those deficiencies were identified by the defense team during the legal discovery process. Steel Supply notified the city of “potential issues with certain trusses … at locations other than the dome roof” on Jan. 30, and Carmel responded with a remediation plan in late March.

But the city did not disclose details of its consultant’s analysis, an explanation of the plan or an estimate of the remediation costs, Steel Supply said in asking the court to exclude any truss-related claims from the trial.

Nation granted that request, issuing an April 29 order making it clear he would sustain defense objections related to evidence concerning the trusses.

CRC Executive Director Les Olds did not return a phone call from the Indianapolis Business Journal this week, but the city reportedly told the court that the truss damage is “independent from the issues raised by the complaint,” according to Nation’s order.

It was not immediately clear whether Carmel would take additional legal action related to the trusses.

The Indianapolis Business Journal is a sister publication of Indiana Lawyer.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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