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Tampa Bay Water Board of Directors Approves Reservoir Appeal

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CLEARWATER —Tampa Bay Water's board of directors announced on June 18th that it is ready to appeal a recent verdict of no liability in the lawsuit over cracks at the C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir.

In April, a federal jury ruled that HDR Engineering, Inc., did not breach its standard of care in designing the region's reservoir.

Tampa Bay Water has already filed a motion asking the presiding judge for a new trial due to legal errors in the first trial, including the exclusion of key evidence and witnesses, and the admission of improper testimony. The judge has not yet ruled on that motion, but the Tampa Bay Water board wants to ensure that its attorneys can move forward with an appeal if the motion is denied. The board voted unanimously to authorize the appeal after a careful examination of its legal strategy.

The board also directed its general counsel to research and recommend adding appellate counsel to its existing legal team. The board will consider the recommendation at its August meeting.

The original lawsuit was filed by Tampa Bay Water in December 2008 against reservoir designer HDR Engineering, Inc., contractor Barnard Construction, and construction manager CDG, due to abnormal cracks in the reservoir's interior soil-cement lining.

Tampa Bay Water reached a $6 million settlement agreement with CDG in October 2010 and a $750,000 settlement with Barnard Construction in October 2011.

Tampa Bay Water provides wholesale water to the public utility systems of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties as well as the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa.