Anatomy of a Case: Irving Tissue Project
January 30, 2020
The Irving Tissue Project involved the installation of a new paper machine and accompanying construction in New York. McAlpine represented the pipe installer, a multi‐skilled contractor from Michigan. All of the pipe for the project was provided by an independent fabricator. During the construction, the owner made numerous design changes. The fabricator cited these changes as the reason that its pipe was late.
When the client came to McAlpine after initially proceeding with another firm, the fabricator had already filed suit for non‐payment pursuant to the original contract and for a violation of the Builder’s Trust Fund Act. McAlpine immediately began to position the case for trial, retaining a scheduling expert to compare the changes made by the owner with the fabrication delivery dates. It soon became apparent that the fabricator had used the design changes as an excuse for its late deliveries, which were unrelated to the design changes. The challenge was to present this data in a way that the jury could understand, particularly where the installer had believed its fabricator when it had claimed that the changes were impacting its deliveries.
Working with its client and its own team of experts, McAlpine created numerous graphs and visual aids demonstrating that the design changes happened long before the fabricator’s deliveries were due and illustrating the construction impacts. McAlpine also used a BIM model to demonstrate the effects of the late deliveries on the construction of the project. Finally, McAlpine devised a strategy of using multiple project participants to testify regarding the additional defects in the fabricator’s pipe.
At trial, the fabricator claimed more than $5 million in damages against the installer. However, based on McAlpine’s trial presentation, the jury denied the fabricator’s claims and awarded $2 million plus attorneys’ fees to the installer. By the time interest, attorneys’ fees, and other costs are calculated, the total net result will be a swing of more than $10 million in the installer’s favor.