Commercial/Construction Litigation

Hayward Baker v. Panama City Port Authority

Bay County Case #03-3106

The Port hired Hayward Baker to rehabilitate the Port bulkhead as part of an overall Port renovation and dredging/deepening project. Hayward Baker was using a jet grout system to strengthen the bulkhead and seawall of the Port. Unfortunately, near completion of the project, the bulkhead blew out and gave way resulting in the need for $2 million in repairs. Hayward Baker sued the Port claiming it had performed extensive extra work under the contract. The Port counter-claimed and sued for damages it claimed were caused by Hayward Baker failing to shut down work after the blow-out became evident. The case settled after litigation with the Design Engineers and the Supervising Engineers. The Port did not pay out of pocket for any of the settlement monies and was able to recoup a portion of the repair costs after the litigation.

Atkins Engineering v. Bay County N.W. Florida Airport

NW Florida Airport and Phoenix Construction
Bay County Case #2010-2839-CA

Mr. Higby served as lead local counsel on this construction/engineering malpractice case involving the design and construction of the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. Severe and historic rains hit during construction of the project, causing cost overruns and alleged damages to the contractor. Drainage ponds at the Airport had to be reconfigured at a cost of several million dollars to the Airport. Atkins denied liability, and contended the contractor was responsible for failing to follow the plans and specifications, and taking short cuts during construction. Mr. Higby worked with Atkins’ outside counsel Karl Pearson of Orlando, and they hired Navigant Consulting to render an expert opinion on construction management and issues involving earth movement. Navigant’s consultant, Chad Hutchison, was a previous construction manager for 20 years at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The case settled on the eve of Trial for a confidential amount, after Mr. Hutchison’s deposition and reports were rendered in the case.

Inland Dredging v. Panama City Port Authority

Federal Court Case #5:04-cv-280-RH/WCS

Inland sued the Port in Federal Court claiming that Inland had incurred substantial damages and cost overruns during the course of a dredging contract for the Port’s main seawall complex. Inland claimed it incurred subsurface materials that were not disclosed in pre-bid information, or otherwise discoverable. Inland claimed over $2 million in damages and cost overruns, and sued in Federal Court. The Port claimed Inland failed to give sufficient notice under the Port-Inland contract, and that Inland had waived any claims for failure to do so. A five day Bench Trial in Federal Court resulted in a $32,000.00 award to Inland, despite the fact that Inland was seeking over $2 million. The Port had offered this amount and much more prior to Trial. Federal Judge Robert Hinkle agreed with the Port that inland had failed to give proper notice under the contract, and entered his judgment accordingly. Inland appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed in favor of the Port Authority.

Berg Steel Corp. v. Panama City Port Authority

Hillsborough County Case #08-014246

Mr. Higby defended the Panama City Port Authority in this lease dispute between the Port and longtime Port tenant Berg Steel. Berg contended that the Port had failed to meet its obligations regarding railroad infrastructure at the Port under a 100-year lease between Berg and the Port. A venue clause in the lease resulted in the case being filed in Tampa-Hillsborough County. Mr. Higby teamed up with Tampa trial lawyer Brad Powers, and the parties achieved a long-term amendment to the Lease after extensive mediation. The resulting amendment achieved continuity and improved relations between the Port and its valuable tenant, Berg Steel.

Emerald Corrections Co. v. Bay County & Corrections Corporation of America

Bay County Case #06-440-CA

Mr. Higby represented CCA in this challenge to CCA’s $120 million contract to build and manage the new Bay County Jail Annex. CCA managed the Bay County Jail and Annex in a contract with the county for over 20 years. When the County decided to build a new Annex for the Jail, a Request for Proposals was issued and CCA and Emerald were the two responding vendors. CCA was awarded the $86 million contract to build the new Annex. It was also awarded a contract to manage the facility. Emerald challenged and sued the County claiming the award to CCA was the result of improper favoritism. CCA intervened in the case based on Mr. Higby’s recommendation. CCA and the County prevailed in the case, and CCA was awarded over $150,000.00 in attorney’s fees and costs, all of which were recovered from Emerald.

Hurricane Michael Insurance Claims

Hurricane Michael Insurance Claims

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