Kelly Holleran May 1, 2013, 6:46am

An engineering consulting company has filed suit against the engineering firm that it hired to draw plans for a project, saying it lost hundreds of thousands of dollars when the firm allegedly failed to properly analyze a structure before submitting drawings to the builder, causing work on the project to screech to a halt.

Electrical Design Engineering Consultants claims it hired defendants Bowman Engineering and Larry T. Bowman to provide structural engineering services in connection with a project on a railcar unloading and material handling system in Marissa. In its contract with EDEC, Bowman agreed to review structural design and to detail all structural elements of various pieces of the project, including the concrete pit, concrete conveyor tunnel, foundation and other concrete elements, according to the complaint filed April 5 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

At various points before construction began, Bowman prepared drawings for the representatives of the two companies in charge of the project – Tarlton and Headwaters, the suit states. However, after receiving the final drawing, Tarlton and Headwaters’ representatives realized that Bowman’s workers failed to account for various vital structural components, such as hydrostatic pressure and shear and moment transfer in an ash removal pit, the complaint says.

In turn, EDEC lost its opportunity to work on the ash removal pit, leading Tarlton to experience significant delays in its completion of the project, EDEC claims.

Upset over the delay, Tarlton filed a lawsuit against both EDEC and Bowman, seeking $1.1 million, according to the current complaint.

Although EDEC sought help from Bowman in defending the lawsuit, the company refused to participate in the settlement. Attempting to avoid a prolonged and expensive court battle, on Oct. 31, 2012, EDEC elected to settle with Tarlton for $400,000, the suit states.

Even though it agreed to settle, EDEC says it should not have been forced to pay the money.

“Plaintiff EDEC is entitled to indemnification from defendant Bowman Engineering and defendant Larry T. Bowman because defendant Bowman Engineering’s and Larry T. Bowman’s negligent acts and omissions were the sole cause of the additional costs and delays to the project,” the complaint says.

EDEC says Bowman breached its contract by providing inadequate designs to the contractor and owner of the business.

In its complaint, EDEC is asking the court to order Bowman to pay it the full amount of the settlement reached with a paid to Tarlton, plus interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

It will be represented by Gary E. Snodgrass, William S. Thomas and Jaime N. Ott of Pitzer Snodgrass in St. Louis and by Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-156.

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