Friday, August 19, 2016
US Nitrogen Claims $30 Million Loss From Engineering Firm
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
US Nitrogen says that defective engineering by a Georgia firm caused five months delay in the start up of its $200 million Greene County ammonium nitrate plant and forced $30 million in repairs.
In an amended complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, Ga. lawyers for US Nitrogen said the defects went beyond what they claimed when the suit was first filed in April.
In addition to the original claims that Weatherly, Inc. improperly designed foundations for two 35,000 pound compressors shipped from Argentina, the amended complaint cites improper soil testing on the 500 acre site, inadequate steel beams and improper design of storage tanks for the production of ammonium nitrate.
According to the 29-page complaint, the defects in the storage tank design were not discovered until after the original suit was filed and the company began using one of the tanks. The suit charges that Weatherly improperly included anchor bolts on the tanks and thermal expansion "caused cracks and other defects."
The suit charges Weatherly with breach of contract, professional negligence and negligent or fraudulent misrepresentation.
According to the complaint, US Nitrogen incurred $30 million in additional expenses in repairing the problems caused by Weatherly's deficient work.
The suit charges that the foundations for the 35,000 pound compressors were designed to hold 3,500 compressors and that both foundations failed on Jan. 4 of this year.
Subsequently, the complaint states, Weatherly proposed a "patchwork repair" that two outside engineering firms found deficient.
"Weatherly refused to make the necessary repairs," the complaint states.
Attorneys for Weatherly filed a response to the original complaint in which they denied US Nitrogen's charges, They have not yet responded to the amended complaint.
According to the complaint US Nitrogen paid Weatherly some $28 million under a contract signed on Feb. 16, 2012.