A construction company removed in May from the Canalside project at the former Memorial Auditorium site won two court rulings Friday in its legal battle against a state agency.
State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Walker ruled that Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., was not permitted to reach a monetary settlement with Travelers Insurance, the project’s bond holder, because it would have limited DiPizio Construction Co.’s claims against the state.
Walker also ruled that DiPizio’s plans to dispose of contaminated soil and the use of a different kind of granite – two contentious issues that delayed the project and, in the case of disposal, added to DiPizio’s costs – were contractually permissible.
“It’s a big win. We have been trying to make our case that we feel DiPizio Construction was wrongfully made a scapegoat for the delays of the Canalside project. We feel vindicated to a degree by the court rulings,” said DiPizio spokesman Tony Farina.
He said the company hopes it can settle its differences with the state agency out of court.
DiPizio, which submitted a bid slightly less than $20 million, was the lowest bidder on the project. The company was fired by the state agency May 8 after the project fell far behind schedule and lost its appeal in front of Walker on July 12.
The company has filed three lawsuits, charging the agency obstructed its ability to perform contractually required work and had been blamed to divert attention from mistakes by the agency’s design and construction teams.
Travelers Insurance brought in Rochester-based Pike Construction Co. in September as general contractor. The half-finished project – expected to be completed next summer – will result in historically aligned canals that serve as reflecting pools most of the year and skating rinks in the winter, and pedestrian bridges.