By LISA WHALEY
The Town of Jonesborough has been dropped from the lawsuit filed by Rainey Contracting LLC in late 2015 charging the town for delays in the completion of the Senior Center project.
“We reached an agreement with the Rainey defendants and the LLC to dismiss us,” Town Attorney Jim Wheeler told the Herald & Tribune Monday. “We just got confirmation from the clerks.”
Though Wheeler remained confident that there was little chance judgement would go against the town should the complaint have made it to court, he said the dismissal now ends what could have been a costly endeavor.
“We’re not surprised,” he said of the recent decision. “But we are very pleased we got out this early. We had anticipated we would be a little further along in the process and the costs.”
The lawsuit came in response to another lawsuit ﬁled against Rainey by Westﬁeld Insurance, the senior center project’s bonding company.
Rainey was ﬁred from the town’s multi-million-dollar project in August of 2015 during an emergency called meeting of the Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Working in conjunction with Westﬁeld, who was helping to oversee the project, board members voted to sever ties with Rainey, charging the contractor with delays, faulty work and inadequate supervision.
Landmark Corporation was chosen by Westﬁeld to step in to ﬁnish the center, which opened Dec. 7 of 2015.
Wheeler said it was not uncommon when a bonding company goes after a contractor for damages, that a third party — in this case the town of Jonesborough — is sued by the contractor in defense.
“The bonding company did a fantastic job in coming in and taking over when Rainey faltered,” Wheeler said. In compensating their money lost through the default, “they had the right to go after Rainey.”
In response, Rainey sought damages of nearly $850,000 from the town.
Several factors may have aided in the town’s dismissal from the lawsuit. First, Wheeler said, the plaintiffs missed the deadline required for them to provide expert witnesses on their behalf.
Second, he said, in discussion, “they indicated that one of the defendants would be filing for bankruptcy.”
Cost already incurred in defense of the lawsuit will come in at about $20,000, Wheeler said. But had it continued, the town would have been looking at at least $30,000 to $50,000 more in expenses.
“The town is very pleased,” Wheeler said. “This matter is now resolved.”
Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe agreed,
“Of course we’re thrilled to officially to have this behind us and it validates what we said all along, that there was really no merit to this lawsuit to start with,” Wolfe said. “We continue to get fantastic reviews from everyone who attends the Jonesborough Senior Center and that good energy is what we’re committed to building on and focusing on.”
When reached out to, Scott Rainey with Rainey Contracting had no comment on the suit resolution.