Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Wastewater attorney seeks lawsuit dismissal

KEY LARGO -- The Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District is sending its attorney to court this week to ask a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by a construction firm that failed to win a contract as the lowest bidder.

Ray Giglio is expected to ask Circuit Judge David Audlin to grant a summary judgment on the matter. Both Giglio and attorneys for Douglas N. Higgins Construction have submitted written briefs to the court.

"I am very pleased that we have gotten to that position without incurring any significant costs or legal fees as a result of this baseless lawsuit," Giglio wrote to the district board about the summary judgment hearing. "I believe that is a real victory for the district and for its ratepayers."

Higgins filed the lawsuit after the district awarded a $4 million biosolids digester contract to a higher bidder.

Higgins' bid was about $80,000 less than Wharton-Smith's. In making their decision, staff noted the district's positive past dealings with Wharton-Smith as well as a negative experience using Higgins on a past project.

In that incident from 2003, Higgins asked the district for more money after being awarded a construction contract, citing a delay that led to increased equipment costs.

Earlier this month, Audlin refused to grant Higgins' request to block the wastewater district from beginning the project with Wharton-Smith. Higgins was seeking a temporary injunction.

Attorneys from both sides are expected to be in court at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 30, on Plantation Key.

jgore@keysnews.com

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