Volume 48, Issue 9- September 2013


St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank Files Suit Due to ‘Defective’ Windows

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is alleging breach of contract in a federal lawsuit filed against McCarthy Building Cos. and subcontractors Winco Window Co., Hilboldt Curtainwall Inc. and Architectural Glass Products LLC.

“WIn papers filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in July, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis claims that the companies are responsible for installing at least 498 defective windows spread throughout the first six floors of the bank’s headquarters in downtown St. Louis in 2008. The Fed is seeking more than $1.5 million to replace the windows, move employees and readjust security measures, according to the filing.

The windows in question were Winco model Nos. 3350 and 1550 that were supposed to be fixed, aluminum-framed laminated and insulating glass designed to prevent buckling, the opening of joints, the overstressing of components and the failure of joint sealants among other things. The glass was also expected to be resistant to blasts and other detrimental effects.

The windows were installed in four phases from January 2008 to September 2008. However, a Hilboldt inspection of the windows in June 2011 revealed that the windows had allegedly begun delaminating along the edges and “appeared to be defective,” according to court documents.

An expert window consultant hired by the bank alleged the windows did not meet industry standards and were defective, the complaint states. That expert also said total replacement was the only reasonable remedy, according to the lawsuit filing.

The federal bank charges that McCarthy breached its contract in “numerous” respects, “including, but not limited to, permitting its subcontractors to install windows that failed to meet specifications; selecting substandard and/or inexperienced subcontractors to perform the obligations under the Contract; failing to adequately take supervision and/or construction management of the Project as Defendant contracted to do; selecting poor and substandard materials for use in the construction of the Project; and failing to acknowledge and/or correct clearly identified defects and deviations in the specifications for the windows.”

Scott Wittkop, central division president of McCarthy Building, issued a statement reiterating the importance of quality and customer satisfaction to his company.

“While we do not believe we are in breach of our contract,” he says in the statement, “we are continuing to work with the Federal Reserve Bank, installation subcontractor and supplier to resolve this warranty issue. Consistent with ongoing and proactive discussions, we have delivered a formal proposal for resolution to the Federal Reserve Bank and are looking forward to reaching an agreement among all parties.”

Denny Hilboldt, the owner and founder of Hilboldt Curtainwall, echoed those comments, saying that all parties involved are still trying to work the matter out in a timely fashion.

Winco Window Co. representatives could not be reached for comment.

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