MIT settles with Gehry over Stata Ctr. defects

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MIT sued architect Frank Gehry and construction company Beacon Skanska in Oct. 2007 for “design and construction failures” in the Ray and Maria Stata Center.
Ricardo Ramirez—Tech File Photo

MIT has settled its 2007 lawsuit against the architects and builders of the Ray and Maria Stata Center: Frank O. Gehry & Associates, Beacon Skanska Construction, and NER Construction Management.

Most of the issues of design and construction cited in the lawsuit have been resolved.

The lawsuit, alleging breach of contract and neglige0nce, was officially dismissed by the Massachusetts Superior Court on Monday, March 8. The last filing in the case was from April 2008, and the court noted the case as “reported settled” on Feb. 5, 2010.

MIT’s lawsuit cited design and construction failures in the building. These included masonry cracking and poor drainage in the amphitheater; “mold growth at various locations on the brick exterior vertical elevations”; “persistent leaks” throughout the building; and sliding ice and snow.

MIT retained outside consultants to examine the construction for defects, and those consultants produced reports which are not publicly available.

MIT Deputy General Counsel Mark C. DiVincenzo has declined to comment since March 8.

Stanley A. Martin, counsel for Beacon Skanska, said that “most of the issues involving the original design and construction have been resolved,” and that the issues were “primarily of design as opposed to construction.”

“Skanska has tried to work with [MIT] to resolve all of that,” Martin said. “There was a major effort last summer to track down any remaining issues and resolve them.”

A few issues may have been “tabled for completion this coming summer,” Martin said.

Gehry’s filing of Dec. 10, 2007, denied most allegations regarding the design, and referred most construction defects to Skanska (see sidebar, right). On Jan. 11, 2008, Skanska sued its contractor, NER Construction Management, as part of this same lawsuit.

NER Construction’s counsel, Scott J. Tucker, said that “the matter is disposed of as to my client,” and said that the settlement was confidential.

Counsel for Gehry, Joseph F. Leighton, did not respond to a message left yesterday. His co-counsel, Kevin P. Mannix, referred inquiries to Leighton.

Samuel M. “Tony” Starr, MIT’s outside counsel in this case, referred inquiries to DiVincenzo.