Lawsuit filed against Horry County Schools, subcontractor for nonpayment

From WMBF News partner MyHorryNews

Firstfloor Energy Positive, along with Horry County Schools and four other companies are being sued by a mechanical company out of Lake City who says it is owed $190,604 for the work it completed on the new schools.

Firstfloor, architect for all five new schools in Horry County, and HCSD currently have a pending lawsuit on the books from a September 2017 case against them by Capitol Materials of Savannah, for $780,000 in unpaid bills plus attorney's fees.

The current lawsuit, filed Feb. 20 by F&B Mechanical, LLC, is against Horry County School District, Firstfloor Energy Positive, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, Integrated Contracting Group, Metcon, Inc. and TA Loving Inc.

Lisa Bourcier, Horry County Schools spokesperson, said the district does not provide any commentary on substantive matters relating to pending litigation.

"Firstfloor Energy Positive teamed with general contractor Metcon-TA Loving to execute the Horry County School's projects. During this time, there were several subcontractors who were hired and one of them subsequently filed for bankruptcy. The lawsuit in question is related to Capitol Materials who provided materials for the new facilities drywall and ACT subcontractor, abruptly going out of business and not paying its suppliers," said an official Firstfloor Energy Positive media statement. "We are aware that a second claim between two subcontractors is being made, however we have no further information at this time."

Official paperwork says that F&B entered into a contract in November 2015 with Horry County Schools to provide labor, materials and equipment (mechanical pipe installation including kitchen ductwork and all fabricated brackets) for certain schools including (but not limited to) St. James Intermediate, Socastee Elementary, Myrtle Beach Middle and Socastee Middle.

Allegedly, around Nov. 30, 2015, F&B delivered bonds naming Travelers as the surety company, and has requested copies of these bonds from Firstfloor, but says Firstfloor refuses to produce the copies.

F&B's suit says they began their work around March 20, 2017, and worked through July 20, 2017, and performed work at the direction of the named parties. Now though, the parties are enjoying the benefit and value of these materials, but that out of the original $260,274 bill sent to Firstfloor, they have paid only $69,670 of the debt, leaving the $190,604 that F&B says they are now owed.

The lawsuit says that F&B notified all parties of the failure to pay on Aug. 21, 2017, as well as on Sept. 5, 2017. F&B says they notified Firstfloor and Travelers that they were to meet their obligations as contractor and surety on the bond.

On Sept. 8, 2017, the lawsuit says the surety company acknowledged receipt of the claim, but refused to pay. More than 45 days have passed since the claim, and the defendants have "otherwise unreasonably refused to pay the claim or any portion thereof."

The lawsuit claims that the school district, Firstfloor and the other companies have breached agreements to pay, and that F&B has sustained substantial monetary damage. They believe they are entitled to actual damages and certain consequential damages for this breach of contract, according to the lawsuit.

The court paperwork says the surety company agreed to guarantee all payments for labor and materials that had not been paid within 90 days of the last furnishing of labor and materials.

F&B Mechanical is requesting a trial by jury on all issues. They did not return calls for comment.

E. LeRoy Nettles III, lawyer for F&B Mechanical, was unavailable for comment.

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