The Zephyr school district paid $100,000 in attorneys’ fees when it settled its lawsuit over the installation of artificial turf in its football stadium, superintendent Stanton Marwitz announced Tuesday on the district’s website.
Court documents released earlier showed the district received a settlement of $208,750 in its lawsuit against Carter Construction of Forth Worth. Those documents did not include the amount the district paid in attorneys’ fees.
The district sought more than $1 million in damages from Carter Construction, claiming deficiencies in the “construction, installation and improvement of the property,” according to court documents filed in Brown County District Clerk Cheryl Jones’ office.
The turf has since been replaced. The district awarded a $368,205 bid to Hellas Construction of Austin for the new turf, and Marwitz said earlier the funds from the lawsuit settlement would help offset the cost of the new turf.
In the statement posted Tuesday on the district’s website, Marwitz wrote:
“The district has fully and timely responded to every public information request regarding the settlement. Prior to filing its lawsuit, the district notified its general contractor of the field’s alleged defects and deficiencies and over a period of approximately 16 months and unsuccessfully attempted to resolve the field’s issues.
“During that time, no repair or replacement of the field was offered to the district, so the district had to initiate litigation. Unfortunately, the synthetic field fiber product sold to the district was manufactured, marketed, and sold, in part, by a European supplier who contended it was not subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts.
“In addition, the insurance policies insuring each of the defendants responsible for providing and constructing the field contained exclusions which made potential monetary recovery for the district more difficult. Given the complexities of the case, the district had to hire attorneys and experts specializing in construction defects and insurance recovery, with the law firm fronting all of the litigation expenses and risks associated with the case.
“The approximate $100,000 payment to the law firm included not only the law firm’s fees for aggressively representing the district for two and one-half years, but also all of the associated litigation costs and expenses, as well as fees for the investigation, analysis, and expert opinion testimony provided by district’s field expert.
All things considered, the district is pleased it was able to recover as much money as it did, without continued litigation likely culminating with years of appeals. Moving forward, the district has replaced the field with an entirely different synthetic turf field system provided by Hellas Construction, Inc., a company based in Austin, Texas, which also has supplied the synthetic turf used in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.”