Northwest NEWS

Nember 6, 2000

Front Page

Riverview awarded $1.5 million for leaky roof

by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   DUVALL - A 12-member King County Superior Court jury has ordered a manufacturing company to pay Riverview School District $1.5 million in damages after finding that the company was to blame for a faulty roof that was installed on Cedarcrest High School when it was built in 1992.
   The school district filed the lawsuit two years ago against Loadmaster Systems, Inc. of Atlanta, after battling roof leaks that began shortly after the school opened. The award came after five weeks of testimony during which district officials contended that the roof was defective when it was installed.
   "Our assertion was that the nails holding the shingles were like straws, sucking water out of the top of the roof, " said Michael Green, Riverview assistant superintendent. "The jury agreed, and we actually got more than we had asked for, which was $1.2 million. This is very good news."
   Although Green and Riverview District Board President Laura Ritter sat through most of the trial, neither one was present when the jury delivered its verdict late in the afternoon of Nov. 2.
   "The attorneys were there, and the jury told them there were two reasons why extra money was awarded," said Green. "One was that the jury believed our repair estimates were conservative and the other was they wanted to make sure there would still be funds available for the repairs after possible appeals."
   Green said the company did have insurance to cover the cost of the award.
   "We will get enough money to fix the roof, although sometimes things do get tied up in appeals," he said.
   Green said the district has not yet received a final bill from their lawyers, but that a violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act was filed against the company, which could allow the district to make a claim for legal costs.
   "We think that we should be able to recover a substantial portion of our attorneys' fees," he said.
   Most of the water damage was located in specific areas, concentrating mostly in the library, music room and the gym, he said.
   "There was some floor damage to the gym, but it was not extensive because we took steps right away to fix it," he said. "But there has been some consistent damage."