By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise (TCGE) of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has filed a lawsuit in federal court against several construction companies it alleges are responsible for a collapse at a parking deck at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort on Feb. 19, 2015. The 17-page suit lists defendants as W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Rentenbach Construction Incorporated, Metromont Corporation, Chomarat US Inc., and Chomarat North American LLC.
The TCGE is seeking an excess of $4,000,000 in damages in the case.
A part of the ramp leading to the third floor of the parking deck collapsed. Ray Stamper, EBCI Public Safety communications manager, related at the time that there were no injuries in the incident.
According to the lawsuit, the TCGE entered into a contract with W.G. Yates and Rentenbach to jointly act as general contractors on the recent expansion at Harrah’s Cherokee. “W.G. Yates and Rentenbach engaged Metromont in a design, manufacture, and build capacity to design and build the Parking Deck,” the suit alleges. “Metromont prepared all of the various structural calculations and designed the precast concrete products to be used in the construction of the Parking Deck.”
TCGE alleges in the suit that it retained the services of Reigstad & Associates, Inc. in April 2013 to check the conditions of the parking deck during a site visit. Reigstad allegedly found several deficiencies involving broken welds, sealant failure, and cracking. TCGE alleges that W.G. Yates, Retenbach and Metromont were all apprised of the findings of Reigstad.
The suit goes on to describe a year’s worth of communications and fix attempts by the parties. “As a result of both the original construction defects, including failure of the C-Grid, and the failed remediation attempts in 2014, conditions at the Parking Deck continued to deteriorate, leading to a major collapse of a section of the Parking Deck…”
TCGE outlines ten claims for relief in the lawsuit including:
- Breach of Contract against W.G. Yates and Rentenbach
- Bad Faith Breach of Warranty against W.G. Yates and Retenbach
- Negligence against W.G. Yates and Rentenbach
- Negligence against Metromont
- Gross Negligence against Metromont
- Breach of the Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose against Metromont
- Negligence against Chomarat
- Gross Negligence against Chomarat
- Breach of the Implied Warranty of Fitness for a Particular Purpose against Chomarat
- Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices against Defendants
Marty Gibbs, Rentenback Constructors, related, “We’ve been cooperating and working closely with the TCGE Board in trying to support the needs of the Board and of the casino. We’re trying to fully cooperate and meet their needs to overcome this situation.”
Requests for comment by W.G. Yates, Metromont and Chomarat went unanswered by press time.
Erik Rosenwood, of Hamilton Stephens Steele and Martin, PLLC, one of the attorneys for the plaintiff (TCGE), related that they do not comment on pending litigation.