Thursday, October 30, 2014

State sues architects over public health lab "flaws"

The Department of Finance & Administration issued the following press release:

State of Mississippi sues local architectural firm over design flaws and numerous problems at the failed State Public Health Laboratory.
Jackson, MS- Five and a half years after construction began on an updated state-of-the-art Mississippi Public Health Laboratory (Health Lab), the building has yet to become fully functional or completely occupied.  The new facility, located on Woodrow Wilson Avenue in Jackson was originally scheduled to open in April 2012, but the 32-million dollar lab has failed biosafety containment tests performed.  As a result, the Health Lab has been unable to obtain certification from the federal government.
A lawsuit filed Monday by the State seeks damages in excess of $3 million dollars and states that Jackson based architectural firm Dale Partners, hired for the engineering and design on the project in March 2009, and its sub-consultants, are to blame.  The three sub-consultants named as defendants in the lawsuit are Earl Walls Associates a/k/a X-nth, Inc., Eldridge and Associates, P.A., and Environmental Management Plus, Inc.  The suit says defective designs and delay in services had an adverse effect on the quality of the project and caused or contributed to extensive damages in the construction of the Health Lab building. 
Because of the Health Lab’s role in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency, it is required to meet certain design and administrative criteria by the Center for Disease Control before it can be Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) certified.  Despite the Health Lab’s failed testing in 2012, the design team declared the facility substantially complete.  So the Department of Finance and Administration and the Mississippi Department of Health launched an investigation and concluded that the lab’s designs were defective, failing to meet the requirements for a laboratory handling infectious agents at the time the design was completed, and were to blame for the numerous issues. 
“This obviously represents a serious public health concern. In addition, it has cost the State millions to fix these problems,” says Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) Executive Director Kevin Upchurch.  “The most concerning one is that in the event of a power failure, the air pressure in the Health Lab becomes positive, thus pushing the air containing biological contaminants out of the lab and into the clean areas of the building.”
DFA hired an independent forensic consultant which confirmed the inadequacy of the building’s design, and prepared drawings for corrective work that had to be completed for the building to pass inspection.  Some of the required corrective actions have included the replacement of laboratory ductwork, electronic controls, door hardware and sweeps, the sealing of walls, and replacement of some ceilings and valves. 
The project’s general contractor, White-Spunner Construction has not been named as a defendant at this time.  The State is represented by construction lawyer Dorsey Carson of the Carson Law Group.

Sherri Hilton: 601.359.3566
Ryan Jones: 601.359.3419


Anonymous said...

Are these minority firms?

Anonymous said...

DFA should have hired their consultant before the building was built. This is what happens when you either accept the low bid, have set asides, or "rig" a bid so your best buddy wins.

Gotta love the corruption in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Fitting for Dorsey the plantiff attorney to sue private business

Anonymous said...


Bill Denny? Had no idea you could turn a computer on.

Did you really type the phrase "private business?"

The way it works around here is the company that screws something gets sued. In this case, yes, it was a business...and its private....

If you don't like a guy like Dorsey, there are lots of negative things to say about him...but this is about as stupid a statement as it gets.

Anonymous said...

I think it is highly relevant. Dorsey at his core is not adding value to Jackson. Doug Dale is a fine citizen and outstanding firm. For Dorsey to profit on attacking another Jackson business, as he has done in past, is an illustration of his character.

Anonymous said...

12:00, Doug Dale does good work, but was he required to hire a poor subcontractor?

Anonymous said...

Who was the Executive Director of DFA at the time the contract was awarded. Now I wonder who DFA will sue over the nightmare "Magic Accounting System" that went online recently. It costs over $100,000,000.00 and counting. Wonder how much money the company donated to Phil Bryant's campaign. Phil is over DFA.

Anonymous said...

12:00 pm
Your statement is ridiculous. Everyone is entitled to representation, be it DFA or Dale. The legal process is how we resolve hard to resolve disputes in this nation instead of self-help, guns or bombs (look at what Russian entrepreneurs face). Dorsey is just doing his job as a good construction lawyer, and could very well have been hired by the other side if DFA had not hired him first. I'm sure the Defendant is a nice guy, but your personal view of the defendant does not answer the Complaint and is irrelevant. Nice guys get sued when they create legal issues. Dorsey is adding value by taking the legal steps necessary to resolve a dispute in a neutral forum. His character is shown by the very hard focused work of doing well in law school (after graduating magna cum laude from his undergraduate school), passing the bar exam, and learning the complex field of construction law. Or perhaps you would prefer that these disputes be decided by who shows up with the biggest weapon like the dark ages. Grow up.

Anonymous said...

"Dorsey is doing his job as a good construction lawyer". If the back of phone book wasn't already taken Dorsey would be there.

Anonymous said...

Het 10:04..try using Google

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that the Architects were at fault. Typically, architects draw/specify one thing, and then the contractor(s) build/order something ELSE. Then, the Architect spends half his life in court, proving he's not the one at fault.

It's a huge mess, most of the time, and I don't understand why architects don't either change professions or kill themselves. They don't make nearly enough money to justify the level of effort required by their jobs (or the IQ and effort required to attain and maintain their certification).

Generally, the Architect is caught between contractors who are crooks/idiots, and owners/clients who are ruthless and quasi-criminal. The Architect is blamed for the incompetence/greed/dishonesty of others.

So glad I switched majors before it was too late...

Anonymous said...

Do your homework. You can't "take the low bid" when hiring a professional service in the state of MS. Architecture is a professional service.
Also, Doug should have known better, any BSL lab, much less a BSL-3 lab is something that very very few people have experience in doing and designing/constructing. If he hired (whether coerced or not) a local minority firm to handle that...assuming they have no experience in BSL labs, then that's just dumb on his part.
Doug is a gentleman and a good businessman but he can be a dufus when teaming with people and has proved it in the past.

Anonymous said...

@6:31, you could not be more wrong. Nothing personal against Dale, but architects are way worse for designing things they know nothing about and then trying to blame the contractor for building it per their drawings and specifications. They even (if the owner let's them) put clauses that hold harmless them if they screwed up and say that the contractor should have know "their intent" and built it differently than what they specified even if it was wrong.

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have non lawyers discuss legal matters.

Its like watching the Jackson City Council try to use proper English....its fun to watch until you realize they control some important things...then you go drink.

Anonymous said...

"This is what happens when you have non lawyers discuss legal matters.

Its like watching the Jackson City Council try to use proper English....its fun to watch until you realize they control some important things...then you go drink."

Why do you disparage non-lawyers? The most brilliant legal document in the history of the world. By and large the writers were, um, FARMERS.

I'd stack their work up against the work product of any lawyers in the world. Take, for example, the Stokes Twins.

Please :-)

Anonymous said...


Its not that non lawyers are not intelligent enough to be lawyers...its that they have not been trained in the actual way things work in the legal system.

What insurance policies cover, what architects agree to be responsible according to their contract and according to what they receive percentage wise and what the law imposes as a matter of law.

I am certain any non lawyer could understand it....if they studied it and practiced it.

Only an abject idiot would object to the we are

Anonymous said...

11:47 here again. I don't know what happened with my post but I was referring to the US Constitution being written by farmers. I don't know why a few words didn't get posted.

My point is the greatest legal document in the world was written by non-lawyers. Then lawyers got involved, and we have the mess we currently deal with every day.

Kingfish said...

Here is a comment that except for the first sentence (deleted), was pretty good:

If you had stayed in (I assume from your stupid comments, you were in some form of architecture school) you would know that one of the responsibilities of the architect is to see that whatever is specified (drawn/written) for a project is what the contractor builds. If your premise were true, then the architect would be as derilict as the world of contractors you so quickly throw under the bus en masse. Yes, I am sure there are some incompetent contractors. I am sure there are some crooked ones. Also, I am sure that there is a similar situation with architects. But, if an architect specifies certain conditions, you can bet that the contractor is constructing it in accordance. In this case - if the contractor was the problem, I would bet that is who DFA would be suing. I don't know if architect is at fault; subcontracted specialty architect/engineer; or if

Anonymous said...

(Don't know what is happening with site - this is the third time I have tried to send this, and it doesn't give me the normal message that it is awaiting approval, it just disappears.)

OK KF - I apologize for the opening sentence of my very insightful commentary! Probably was just overwhelmed by the abject ignorance of the earlier commenter. I will try to moderate myself in the future.

(It appears that you have accidently cut off the last couple of sentences of my very intelligent observations. Somehow the ending seemed to disappear.)

Kingfish said...

It stopped at if.

Anonymous said...

Now DFA needs to investigate the new dept of corrections offices in jackson. Many issues with the building but biggest is potential collapse of parking structure. Employees have to park at first baptist or old building because parking structure is closed and mdoc.

Anonymous said...

something went horribly wrong with the department of health lab building....drains were installed in the floor where they needed to be...locations that could ONLY be put on the ground floor were built on upper's a HUGE mess....someone was SERIOUSLY asleep at the wheel on this project

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