New Zealand Company Ordered to Mediation
Wednesday, September, 23, 2015
A judge in New Zealand recently ordered MWH Global, an international engineering company to proceed with mediation in its dispute with the Wanganui District Council. The goal is to resolve a multi-million dollar claim by the council. MWH Global is being sued by the council for designing and building the city’s Airport Road wastewater treatment plant poorly. The city’s mayor is confident they have a winning case.
The council has decided it is necessary to rebuild the facility, which will cost approximately $38 million, including the nearly $8 million of design and sludge removal costs which has already taken place. Though unconfirmed, it is believed the council is requesting $10 million in claims.
Initially, the case was set to go to trial in August, but a judge recently determined mediation is the next best step. The decision was made a pre-trial conference in which MWH submitted an application for postponement of the trial. The judge postponed the trial date and ordered the parties into mediation in hopes that a resolution can be found before trial is necessary. The council is concerned the mediation could be a waste of time and does not want to “spend three days locked up in a room for nothing.”
The problem has been ongoing since the facility was completed in 2007, but the council made the decision to pursue a lawsuit in July 2013. MWH expressed disappointment in the council’s decision and a representative said the company had contacted the council multiple times to review the ongoing issues and attempt to resolve the matter outside of court.