Southeast Texas Record

Monday, April 6, 2020

Court affirms dismissal of case regarding Texas Southern building


By Gabriel Neves | Mar 18, 2019

General court 06

HOUSTON -- A Houston university that sued architects, alleging a faulty design of a campus building, has suffered a loss in court.

State Justice Kevin Jewell of the Texas 14th Court of Appeals, issued an 18-page ruling Feb. 26, affirming the Harris County District Court decision in the lawsuit Texas Southern University had filed against Kirksey Architects Inc., Paradigm Consultants Inc., Nathelyne Kennedy & Associates LP and Haynes Whaley Associates Inc. Structural Engineering.

The court affirmed the dismissal of the case, ruling TSU "failed to comply with the certificate of merit requirement in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code chapter 150."

TSU sued the defendants for damages that resulted of problems detected at the School of Public Affairs building, which allegedly presented design flaws.

As stated in the ruling, "on Dec. 21, 2007, TSU notified appellees and [contractor] S&P Construction of “various material cracks” in the building’s masonry." The problem led to moisture getting into the building.

"Appellees acknowledged that the moisture content under the SOPA building was 'greater than expected' and was the 'root cause' of the building’s distress," the ruling said.  "the appellees could not identify the excess moisture’s source without 'destructive demolition and additional testing.'  However, the appellees informed TSU that the distress had stabilized and that they would cover repair costs.  

"TSU hired McGinty Architectural Consultants to inspect the SOPA building and evaluate the appellees’ repair proposal.  McGinty recommended that TSU proceed with the appellees’ recommendations but suggested that TSU obtain an extended warranty from the appellees.  According to TSU, the ppellees paid approximately $31,000 for 'repair work'” .

After a report by the Texas Attorney General's Office, and a request to postpone the filing of a suit denied by the defendants, TSU filed the suit July 31, 2017, with the lower court dismissing the case.

In his ruling, Jewell dismissed TSU's allegations of abuse of discretion, stating that "the trial court’s decision to dismiss with prejudice was neither unreasonable nor arbitrary, nor did the trial court fail to analyze or apply the law correctly," adding that "the trial court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing TSU’s claims with prejudice."

Texas 14th Court of Appeals Case number 14-18-00146-CV

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State of Texas 14th Court of Appeals