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Demolition leads to suits

December 11, 2004|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN

A Washington County wrecking contractor has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a Pennsylvania construction company and a Hagerstown concrete firm for breach of contract over the demolition of the former Wal-Mart on Wesel Boulevard.

Allegany Wrecking Contractors, 16317 Broadfording Road, and Joel Merrbaugh, company owner and operator, filed the lawsuit Dec. 8 against eci Construction Group of Dillsburg, Pa.

In addition to breach of contract, the lawsuit seeks damages for unjust enrichment, nonpayment for services, and interference with contractual relations and prospective business advantage from the Dillsburg firm.

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Merrbaugh and his company also are suing R.L. Hull Concrete Construction and company owner Ronald L. Hull, both of 16226 Broadfording Road, for defamation, and interference with contractual relations and prospective business advantage.

The nine-count lawsuit alleges that on June 25, eci hired Merrbaugh's company to perform salvage and demolition services at 1650 Wesel Blvd. for the sum of $120,000. The lawsuit says the contract didn't specify a schedule or deadline, although Allegany had informed eci during bid negotiations that the job would take eight to 12 weeks.

During that time period, Merrbaugh and his company allege eci speeded up the work schedule and then on Sept. 13, terminated Allegany's contract and "kicked AWC off the job site, falsely alleging that AWC was behind schedule," the lawsuit said.

Merrbaugh further alleges Ronald L. Hull made disparaging remarks about Merrbaugh and his work and personal habits to his friends and family, including Merrbaugh's 16-year-old son.

"He's looking for a million-dollar case," said Merrbaugh's attorney, Roger C. Simmons of Gordon and Simmons law firm in Frederick, Md.

Simmons said more than 90 percent of construction lawsuits settle out of court.

"It would be foolish for this case to go to trial," he said.

Ronald L. Hull, owner of R.L. Hull Concrete Construction, was contacted by telephone Friday, but had no comment on the lawsuit.

A message left on the answering machine of eci Construction Group Friday was not returned.

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