School District

When the local school district decided to rebuild the school's running track, the entire community raised funds to assist. Once again, the town would be able to host several track meets as it had in the past before its old track fell into disrepair. To insure a state-of-the-art facility, the district consulted with engineers and companies with expertise building such facilities.

When a regional contractor was awarded the bid, the district was assured by contract that the track and facilities would meet all standards of construction. However, within weeks after it was built, sinkholes began appearing and the track surface began to erode. The conditions became so severe that within a few months of construction, the track was closed for safety reasons. The school district turned to Barker Wilson.

Inspection of the construction documents revealed that the contractor had decided to cover parts of the track bed before inspectors could verify compaction. The depressions on the surface coincided with those precise locations where the inspectors were denied timely access. In addition, the school district learned in the lawsuit that the company had used low-grade material for the track in an effort to increase its profit. The contractor refused to accept responsibility, so the case went to trial before a jury. The jury returned a verdict for $278,000 for the district and the South Dakota Supreme Court affirmed that judgment.