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Date of Issue: July 12, 2007

Roof USA wants day in court

Any hopes of a quick settlement in Anna Maria’s lawsuit against Roof USA over water and mold damages from the company’s allegedly shoddy installation of a roof at city hall last summer were dashed last week.

Roof USA sent a letter to attorney Mark Nelson, who is representing the city in the legal wrangle over the roof, stating that its only legal duties to the city were those set forth in the contract.

In addition, said attorney Stuart Freeman for Roof USA, the city “had a duty to mitigate its damages by taking proper and necessary remedial steps in a timely fashion to prevent further damage to its property.” In other words, said Freeman, the city cannot recover damages that it could “reasonably have avoided.”

Regarding the city’s claim of negligence on the part of Roof USA and a demand for economic damages, Freeman said that “purely economic damages” are barred under the “Economic Loss Rule.”

As a result, said Freeman, “Roof USA LLC demands a trial by jury on all issues as a matter of right.”

Nelson was expected to consult with Mayor Fran Barford and the city commission before replying to Freeman.

Anna Maria filed suit against Roof USA for mold and asbestos remediation damages caused by falling water from the under-construction roof. The city claimed that a temporary covering that Roof USA used over its roof installation failed during a heavy rainstorm Aug. 6, 2006, causing an extensive amount of water to flood city hall. The flooding resulted in a considerable amount of water and mold damage to the interior of city hall.

In order to effect repairs, the city temporarily relocated to the Island Baptist Church.

The city lawsuit wants Roof USA to pay the city’s relocation costs, in addition to actual damages to city hall.

The total amount of the claim against Roof USA is in excess of $100,000.