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January 5, 2014

A little longer to wait on jail lawsuit

GREENVILLE — Five years ago, a lawsuit was filed regarding the construction of the Hunt County Criminal Justice Center.

But it will be another nine months at least before a judge hears testimony in the case.

The jury trial between the plaintiff, Hunt County, and the multiple respondents in the case is currently scheduled to begin in the 196th District Court on September 15.

The county’s attorneys are seeking to recover up to $30 million in damages from the litigation.

Hunt County formally filed suit against two Fort Worth firms in January 2009, accusing the engineers and architects behind the construction of the jail of failing to adhere to warnings the structure was being built on unstable soil.

The building has reportedly experienced numerous problems with cracks in the walls and other damage since shortly after it opened. The county was originally seeking up to $10 million in damages.

In May 2009, the Commissioners agreed to a $770,000 settlement with Burns Architecture Incorporated, the architects involved with the construction of the jail. The company was later dismissed from the suit, which remained pending against Frank W. Neal & Associates, the engineers involved.

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