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District, high school architect settle lawsuits

FARMINGTON - With a trial date looming, Independent School District 192 and the architect that designed its new high school have reached a settlement on a nearly two-year-old lawsuit.

FARMINGTON - With a trial date looming, Independent School District 192 and the architect that designed its new high school have reached a settlement on a nearly two-year-old lawsuit.

The settlement, approved 5-0 Monday by the Farmington School Board, includes more than $4.2 million in payments to the district from DLR Archtects and Engineers, $600,000 of which will be paid as charitable donations to the district's construction fund over three years beginning next September. The district will pay $640,000 to the architect.

Also included in the settlement: the district will allow DLR to install a plaque at FHS recognizing the company's work as architect and engineer on the project and the architect will be allowed access to the building to allow it to take pictures.

The two sides reached their agreement following a closed work session Sept. 9. That meeting came after a kind of mock trial called for by judge Michael Mayer as a way to kick-start stalled negotiations. Mayer asked both sides to present brief versions of their cases to a jury. The jury's decision was not binding. It was meant to give the sides an idea of how the public might view their arguments.

The answer seemed clear, Mayer said. The jury found both sides breached their contract and that neither side deserved any compensation.

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Mayer said he called the hearing because both sides had agreed a full trial would have taken seven weeks. That would have cost both sides a significant amount and put a strain on the court system.

The lawsuit began in November of 2008 when DLR sued to recover several monthly payments the district had not made. The district countersued, claiming DLR owed money to cover its share of additional payments for work made necessary by problems with the building's design.

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