Days after announcing that it settled with Siemens for nearly $90 million, the city of Jackson has issued motions to dismiss complaints against several of the company’s subcontractors.
However, the legal battle might not be over just yet, with one subcontractor, Garrett Enterprises, now seeking its attorney fees from the city.
On February 25, attorneys for Garrett filed a motion asking the court to require the city to pay Garrett’s attorneys’ fees in the case.
However, a source close to the case said Garrett doesn’t have standing, because the firm never filed an answer to Jackson’s complaint and therefore never was a part of the case.
According to the court filings, “Neither the initial complaint nor the first amended complaint leveled any specific allegations against Garrett. Instead, the first amended complaint simply attempted to bootstrap Garrett to the allegedly wrongful acts of the Siemens defendants through vague charges of civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment.”
Garrett was one of the subcontractors hired to help with the Siemens overhaul. The city included the firm in its $450 million lawsuit against Siemens and its subcontractors.
In the suit, the city said several subcontractors were simply pass-through firms, brought in to raise the contact’s overall price.
The city hired Siemens for nearly $90 million in 2012. The firm was responsible for completely overhauling Jackson’s water billing system.
The contract was sold as being “revenue-neutral,” meaning Jackson would be able to pay off the loans used to pay for the work over time with increased revenue collections from water customers.
Instead, complications from the work have nearly bankrupted the city’s water enterprise fund – monies that are used to maintain the water system.
Jackson alleged Garrett, a Jackson-based firm, “was paid $4.6 million to perform construction management and quality control services. However, it was unclear what services, if any, Garrett actually performed.”
On February 19, the city announced that it settled the suit with Siemens, and on February 20, it dismissed without prejudice the charges brought against Garrett and other subcontractors.
Garrett’s attorneys argue that the city “dragged Garrett into this lawsuit, asserting and pursuing no real claims, and then voluntarily dismissed Garrett after reaching a settlement with Siemens.”
At the same time, attorneys state Jackson can refile claims against Garrett at any time.
As a result, Garrett argues that he “has incurred substantial costs and attorneys’ fees for no reason whatsoever, as well as having its reputation as a contractor significantly damaged by the city’s baseless assertions.”
As a result, Garrett is now asking the court to find that the city’s actions against Garrett were “without substantial justification and unreasonable and to award Garrett its costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in defending this meritless suit.”
No amount was listed in court filings. The complaint was filed in Hinds County Circuit Court this week.
Jackson also dismissed charges against Mueller Systems LLC and U.S. Consolidated.
Click on the link below to see a copy of Garrett's filings: https://www.northsidesun.com/sites/default/files/Garrett%20legal%20fees.pdf