City files suit against architect

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, March 6, 2019

According to minutes filed from the Feb. 5, 2019 meeting of Picayune’s City Council, the city manager was directed to “select and retain legal counsel for prosecution of suit for architectural defects and malpractice.”

During that meeting, city attorney Nathan Farmer said that motion was made in regard to issues with City Hall. 

According to lawsuit documents filed in the Pearl River Circuit Court on Monday against Landry Lewis Germany Architects and five John Does, the law firm of Dukes, Dukes, Keating & Faneca, P.A. out of Gulfport has been hired to represent the city in that suit.

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The suit concerns the project to expand the historic City Hall, which was let on Nov. 1, 2011, and completed in March of 2013 at a cost of about $1.8 million, the court documents state. The firm of Landry and Lewis Architects was paid $183,714 for its services.

After occupying the building, significant rainfall events led to water intrusion in the building, the first of which was on April 11, 2013 followed by another on April 14, of that same year, the documents state.

Ever since, there have been “subsequent instances of water intrusion into the building during periods of significant rainfall,” and that issue continues to this day, according to the suit.

In the suit, it is stated that the firm had a duty to ensure the addition was built at an elevation sufficient to avoid flooding and that “adequate drainage systems” were installed or in place to avoid flooding or water intrusion during instances of significant rainfall.

According to previous coverage, the city attempted some remediation work to address the problem, such as adding drainage features and cutting into neighboring Williams Avenue, which appear to have been unsuccessful.

The suit seeks to recover past and future expenses and losses as a result of the flooding, expenses that will be incurred as the city seeks to repair the issue through redesign and construction and repair of previous flooding instances.