Board of Trustees to vote on $7 million GSH lawsuit settlement

The University of Oregon has reached a settlement agreement, pending Board of Trustees approval, with the two contractors and architectural firm it sued last March for the allegedly poor construction of Global Scholars Hall.

After more than 18 months of legal work and “extensive mediation,” the parties came to the settlement agreement on Nov. 29. UO paid its attorneys at Lane Powell PC $568,887 for work related to this case.

A summary of the settlement agreement is included in the agenda for Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting in Portland. The key provision of the agreement is that the defendants, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects, Catena Consulting Engineers and Hoffman Construction Company, will pay UO $6,917,443 by April 15, 2017. Catena will also provide structural repairs to GSH at no charge, and UO will drop any further litigation against the three defendants.

The Board of Trustees will vote Friday whether or not to approve the agreement. UO administration has recommended that the Board pass the agreement, according to documents in the meeting agenda.

UO sued ZGF, Catena Consulting and Hoffman Construction in March 2015, alleging that the contractors were responsible for “deflection and cracking” of the foundation and concrete floors in GSH, which opened in 2012. According to UO’s complaint, “The defects associated with deflection have compromised the building’s serviceability, full functionality for its intended purposes, its durability and its aesthetics.”

UO originally sued for $8.5 million but amended the complaint a year later, seeking $42.9 million. Despite the defects, UO has stressed that there are currently no safety concerns for residents of GSH.

University spokesman Tobin Klinger declined to comment on the settlement until after the Board votes.

If the Board votes against approving the settlement on Friday, a trial for the case is set to begin Jan. 30, 2017.

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Jack Pitcher

Jack Pitcher

Jack Pitcher is the Editor in Chief of the Emerald. He's a business major and Trail Blazers fan.

Reach Jack at [email protected]