ADAMS — Adams Plumbing & Heating is one of eight contractors being sued by the University of Massachusetts Building Authority and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for damages incurred after kitchen ductwork installed by the contractors collapsed within three years.
The plaintiffs are seeking more than $2.8 million it cost to replace and repair the ductwork in a dining hall at the UMass campus in Amherst. The suit cites “damage caused by defendants’ faulty design, construction, testing, review and commissioning of the kitchen exhaust systems,” according to the complaint filed in Hampshire Superior Court on Dec 1.
Amy Moresi, president of Adams Plumbing & Heating on Printworks Drive in Adams, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Other defendants in the suit are Bruner/Cott & Associates Inc.; Garcia, Galuska & DeSousa Inc.; Halton Group Americas Inc.; Leftfield LLC; Lee Kennedy Co.; Tekon – Technical Consultants; and WSP Group.
The complaint shows that Adams Plumbing & Heating entered into a contract as a subcontractor with general contractor Lee Kennedy in February 2014. Their job was to “perform fabrication and installation of the ductwork for the kitchen exhaust systems.”
The project was completed in February 2015.
According to the complaint, “By the Spring of 2018, the ductwork in the kitchen exhaust systems of the Blue Wall kitchen and dining area had collapsed.”
The two exhaust systems were supposed to move kitchen air from 14 hoods to be cleaned by filters and expelled from the building. But, in March 2018, a company sent to clean the system discovered a number of deficiencies, including multiple seam leaks and ceiling-mounted ductwork collapsing in both systems, the complaint alleges.
Air pressure monitoring was found to have lapsed as well, meaning that the exhaust system was pushing more air than it needed to, increasing pressure on the ductwork. Testing and inspection at the time of completion also was lacking, according to the complaint.
“During the time that the necessary repairs were being performed, the operations at the Blue Wall Dining Hall were limited for months. The limited operations resulted in lost income and overtime expenses for UMass,” the suit states.
As a result, the plaintiffs charge that “negligent actions and omissions caused the ducts in the kitchen exhaust systems to collapse which resulted in substantial injury and damages to the plaintiffs.”
Aside from the cost of repairing the damage, the complaint seeks interest on the amount, as well as lawyers’ fees, costs “and such other and further relief as this Court may deem just and proper.”