Check out market updates

Lawsuit: Contractor blamed for $11M in damages at National Wildlife Research Center

FORT COLLINS — The owner of a large Fort Collins building leased to the National Wildlife Research Center alleges in a recently filed lawsuit that mistakes by a national building infrastructure contractor led to a 2021 basement flood and caused more than $11 million in damages.

Attorneys for Acquest Holdings FC LLC, owner of the roughly 80,000-square-foot space on Laporte Avenue, said in a complaint filed in Larimer County District Court that the plaintiff inked a 2019 contract with Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls Inc. under which JCI would perform chiller maintenance and other services at the property.

The following year, the complaint said, Acquest called upon JCI for “the replacement of the main domestic water tee coming into the subject property that divides the flow of water coming into the subject property to different service lines.”

While performing that work, JCI, representatives of which did not respond to requests for comment Thursday, “did not ensure that a fire protection system valve directly downstream from the new replacement tee it installed remained properly seated on its support stands,” Acquest alleges.

Six months later, “the fire protection system valve directly downstream from the replacement tee installed by JCI failed, resulting in the release of a significant amount of water into the basement,” the complaint said. 

The plaintiffs blame the fire system failure on “stresses imparted upon it due to the fact that it was not properly seated on its support stands after JCI completed its work of installing the replacement tee,” court documents show.

Acquest’s insurers, also named as plaintiffs in the suit, paid out $11 million to repair damages caused by the basement flood. 

The Laporte Avenue building is the headquarters of the National Wildlife Research Center, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service.

At the site, “scientists and support staff are dedicated to finding solutions to challenging wildlife damage management problems related to agriculture, natural resources, property, and human health and safety,” according to the NWRC website. “Human-wildlife conflicts, wildlife damage, nuisance and pest animals, wildlife disease, invasive species, overabundant wildlife, and overall ecosystem health are just some of the topics studied by researchers at the National Wildlife Research Center.”

The case is Acquest Holdings FC LLC et al versus Johnson Controls Inc., case number 2023CV30090 filed in Larimer County District Court.

Source: BizWest