ST. FRANCISVILLE - The West Feliciana Parish Police Jury approved the final settlement Wednesday in a lawsuit filed against the architects, general contractor and subcontractors involved in the construction of the courthouse annex.
The Police Jury and Clerk of Court Felicia Hendl filed lawsuits in January 2008 for damages the officials said they incurred because of the design and construction of the heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems in the building, which opened in 2005. Some workers in the building became ill.
The parties in the litigation agreed to settle the dispute through arbitration. A tentative agreement was reached in March, and jury attorney John David Ziober said the settlement amount being paid to the jury, $620,000, has not changed.
The defendants include Arkel Constructors Inc., the general contractor; Holly and Smith, Architects; M&E Consulting Inc., Corporate Mechanical Contractors, Sun Electrical and Instrumentation, as well as several third-party defendants and insurers.
The defendants also agreed to pay the Clerk of Court’s Office $17,000, and the clerk’s worker’s compensation insurer $3,000.
The agreement says the amount each defendant would be paid will be held in confidence by the arbitrator.
Juror Lea Williams wanted assurances Wednesday that the money would be put in the jury’s Building and Grounds Fund, but juror Billy Shoemake cut her off with the comment, “That has nothing to do with it.”
Jury President Ken Dawson said some of the money would be used to make “corrections” to the building, while some of it would be kept in reserve in case future problems arise.
John Hashagen, acting parish manager for operations, said he has a list of six or seven items that need to be done, including covering a metal flue installed outside the building to carry carbon monoxide from the heating system away from the structure.
The type of covering will depend on what the jury elects to do from an aesthetic standpoint, Hashagen said.