Boston Green Line Extension builders sue STV for $35M

Dive Brief:

  • The construction companies that built the Boston MBTA Green Line Extension filed a lawsuit on Aug. 3 against engineering firm STV, claiming its allegedly faulty designs caused more than $35 million in cost overruns.
  • Irving, Texas-based Fluor; Littleton, Massachusetts-based The Middlesex Corp.; Irving, Texas-based Herzog; and U.K.-based Balfour Beatty filed suit in a Suffolk Superior Court against New York City-based STV, alleging professional negligence and breach of contract. The firms built the $2.3 billion light rail project together as the joint venture GLX Constructors, and finished it late last year.
  • The plaintiffs said that STV failed to reimburse GLX for unexpected costs, as stipulated in the contract. “GLX Constructors seeks damages in excess of $35 million for losses suffered as a result of STV’s failure to comply with the requisite standard of care and its contractual obligations when performing services in connection with the Green Line Extension project,” the complaint said.

Dive Insight:

The Green Line Extension transit project, which was decades in the making, wrapped in December 2022 with the opening of the 3.7-mile Medford Branch. The earlier portion of the GLX project from Union Square to Somerville was finished in March 2022. GLX Constructors built both parts of the 4.7-mile extension under a design-build contract, and the lawsuit concerns the overall project.

STV was responsible for preparing preliminary design drawings that GLX Constructors submitted as part of its bid proposal in 2016, and that were used to calculate the cost of the project, the lawsuit claims. 

“STV also understood that any post-award changes to the Ready for Estimate Drawings could change the quantities and nature of the materials GLX Constructors had included in its price proposal, which, in turn would increase the costs of constructing the GLX project, and that such increased costs would not be paid by the MBTA,” the complaint reads.

MBTA was very concerned about cost overruns, and the agency was absolved of paying for these cost overruns in its 2017 teaming agreement with the JV, according to the suit.

However, STV’s preliminary designs contained “numerous and significant errors and omissions,” which resulted in substantial cost overruns that GLX Constructors could not recover from the MBTA, the complaint said. The document cites 10 instances where errors in the design drawings later necessitated costly corrections, such as designs for ballast retaining walls on the Medford Branch that were much less extensive than required. 

STV agreed that it would be “responsible for costs and damages incurred [by GLX Constructors] as a result of errors in such quantities caused by the failure of [STV] to comply with the standards of skill and care” laid out in the 2017 teaming agreement with the other members of the JV, according to the lawsuit. However, GLX Constructors alleges STV did not reimburse it for the cost overruns as promised. 

For its part, STV said it is proud of its contributions to the project and stands by its design.

“We are confident that these commercial disputes will be resolved in STV’s favor through the judicial process,” an STV spokesperson told Construction Dive via email.

Comments are closed.