Company sues Bellefonte Borough Authority for more than $17,000

A McKeesport-based company filed a lawsuit against Bellefonte Borough Authority last week in Centre County court.

MB&R Piping Contractors Inc. alleges in the lawsuit filed Dec. 18 that the authority has committed a breach of contract by failing to make a payment on improvement work MB&R did on the authority’s water reservoir. The suit further contends that the company was prohibited from requesting payment for extra work it did.

The company has asked the court to rule in its favor in the amount of $17,676.87 plus interest, penalties and attorneys’ fees. MB&R is also seeking a jury trial.

“We generally do not comment on legal disputes other than to say that the authority has taken issue with the work that was to be completed by the contractor,” Bellefonte borough Manager Ralph Stewart said Wednesday in an email.

As a result of public bidding, MB&R and the authority entered into a written contract in July 2016 for improvement work to the reservoir, which included replacing the reservoir cover and installing a cleaning system and liner for a fountain, according to court documents. The contract didn’t detail electrical work, other than wiring for the pump for the cover cleaning system.

According to court documents, the authority retained the professional engineering services of Nittany Engineering & Associates LLC. The suit claims that “MB&R has completed all of the work as required by the contract as well as extra work directed by the authority and or Nittany in a good and workman like manner in accordance with the contract.”

MB&R submitted an application for payment No. 3 for $8,389.07 in April, and the authority didn’t pay, the lawsuit states.

The extra work included installing electrical service, and the lawsuit claims that MB&R was prohibited by Nittany from requesting payment for that work.

The authority hasn’t paid MB&R for its contract value on the basis that the cover doesn’t completely drain, despite there being no such requirement in the contract, the suit says.

The lawsuit also states that the authority hasn’t paid MB&R for the installation of the new electrical service on the basis that the company should have known that such service would have been required.

The lawsuit states that the contract was for work in excess of $50,000.

“The authority’s conduct in failing to issue payment was arbitrary, vexatious and in bad faith,” the lawsuit says.

As a result, the lawsuit claims, MB&R is entitled to recover, interest, damages in the nature of penalty in the amount of 1 percent per month and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred as a result of the authority’s conduct.

Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz