Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

March 3, 2011

Pitt wins Pete construction suit

petersenA court has ordered two architectural firms to pay Pitt nearly $6 million for shoddy work during construction of the Petersen Events Center.

Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County Judge Joseph M. James ruled that Apostolou Associates/Rosser International Inc. breached its contract with the University by failing to perform its work “with due care and in a manner that met the applicable standard of care” during The Pete’s construction, according to court documents.

The firms worked together to install the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system in the 12,500-seat arena, which opened in 2002 at a total construction cost of $119 million.

In 2005, the Board of Trustees property and facilities committee authorized an additional $5.6 million for repairs Pitt claimed were necessitated in part by the architects.

Pitt filed suit in 2004 against the joint architectural firm Apostolou Associates of Mt. Washington/Rosser International of Atlanta, alleging breach of contract due to “actions, errors and omissions during the design and construction” of The Pete, as well as “delays, disruptions, interferences and additional costs” caused by the architects. (See Jan. 6, 2005, University Times.)

In his Jan. 7 ruling, James ordered Pitt to receive $3,614,026 for heating, ventilating and air conditioning remediation, $1,367,365 for errors and omission change orders and $378,419 in administrative costs.

The University also will recover $600,000 it paid to settle claims that were made during construction involving the architects and a steel contractor, for a total judgment of $5,959,810.

Apostolou/Rosser filed a motion for post-trial relief on Jan. 18, requesting that the ruling be vacated or a new trial take place. The firms claim that the court’s award is unsupported by the evidence.

In his Jan. 7 ruling, James also ordered Pitt to pay the defendants $204,000 by upholding their counterclaim, filed in 2005, that the project’s initial costs were increased by $4 million, which entitled the architectural firms to the additional fee.

On Jan. 28, Pitt filed for post-trial relief to avoid paying the defendants, claiming that the award “is contrary to the law … and unsupported by the evidence,” according to court documents.

John Fedele, associate director of news, did not respond to a request for comment.

—Peter Hart

Leave a Reply