Construction Company Wins $3.5 million Suit against City of Birmingham
CW Woods Contracting Services Inc., a business with 27 years of construction industry dealings in the state of Alabama and elsewhere, has been awarded over $3.5 million in claim against the city of Birmingham for construction project related litigation stemming from proposed work in 2013. The specific project in question entailed three large-scale sites in and around Birmingham including the Negro Southern League Museum and the Fountain Heights Recreational Center, as well as Birmingham’s police headquarters for the West precinct. The jury award, which is the culmination of a seven-day long civil trial heard by a Jefferson County jury, resulted in damage awards of over $3.51 million dollars to CW Woods Contracting and owner Chris Woods. Jury members agreed with Woods’ arguments that city officials intentionally stymied the pursuit of the project in a reasonable and ordinary manner, as well as violated the contractual agreements between CW Woods Contracting and those signed by prior city officials.
CW Woods Contracting Services were initially hired as a project manager for all three sites in question by the city of Birmingham in 2013 to serve, which at the time was under the Langford mayoral administration. In 2013, Woods was fired from his position, in a manner that jury members found to be based on highly political reasons relating to the change in mayoral administrations with the new mayor Bell administration and flawed business practices, which resulted in Woods being left unpaid for work already performed on behalf of the city. Ralph Cook, City Attorney and counsel for the city of Birmingham, argued that Woods’ company failed to meet several deadlines, thus justifying the termination. Previously, council members from the West District publicly stated that political maneuvering and a lack of interest from the Bell administration has led to the stalling and termination of the three proposed projects in the West District, thus augmenting the political elements relevant to Woods’ claim. Counsel for the city of Birmingham has argued that work on the West Precinct did cease for a brief period in 2013 to 2014, but has since resumed under different construction and consulting companies.
For Woods, the entire project faced significant hurdles and issues emanating from the Bell mayoral administration, including delays imposed by city officials, construction and design alterations done with little to no notice, limited to no feedback from city officials on work order approvals and revisions, and ultimately, non-payment by the city as well. To date, the proposed police precinct in Five Points West remains incomplete, but is still ongoing according to city officials.