A giant civil lawsuit (case number 2:20-cv-00716) against many of the major contractors involved in the building and construction of The NFL Raiders Las Vegas Stadium now called Allegiant Stadium, including Derr & Isbell Construction, Merrill Iron & Steel, Inc., and the Mortenson-McCarthy Las Vegas Stadium Joint Venture, was filed April 21, 2020, in U.S. District Court, Nevada District, in Las Vegas. It claims that the organization that is responsible for ironworkers on the stadium project getting paid by stadium builders, were not given money by them to do so.
Given the lawsuit filed one year ago by Merrill Steel and against Mortensen-McCarthy, and because Merrill Steel feared it would not be paid for $278 million of what the firm claimed was required work on Allegiant Stadium, this lawsuit, which includes both Merrill Steel and Mortensen-McCarthy as defendants, is further reason to ask what’s really going on with stadium project dollars, and the constant claim that the facility is “on time” and “on budget”?
This is a far cry from 2017, when ironworker jobs as “NFL Raiders Stadium Las Vegas” were posted on Ironworkers Local 433’s Facebook page:
NFL LAS VEGAS RAIDERS STADIUM
After numerous inquiries from members and travelers, this office has received the following information for the above mentioned job:
Work will begin DECEMBER,2017. Man power will be local hire (zip code sensitive) per the PLA. After local hire is exhausted we will then go to open call. Anyone interested in working on this project must be present at the union hall at the time the dispatch for man power is requested.
The lawsuit, called The Trustees Of The California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust vs. Derr & Isbell Construction, LLC, really takes in the following organizations:
Plaintiffs (the one’s filing the lawsuit): The Trustees of the California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust, California Ironworkers Field Welfare Trust, California and Vicinity Field Ironworkers Annuity Fund, California Field Ironworkers VacationTrust Fund, California Field Ironworkers Apprenticeship Training and Journeyman Retraining Fund, Ironworkers Workers’ Compensation Trust, California Field Ironworkers Administrative Trust, and California Field Ironworkers Labor Management Cooperative Trust.
Defendants (the one’s defending themselves against the lawsuit): Derr & Isbell Construction, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; Arch Insurance Company, a Missouri corporation; SureTec Insurance Company, Merrill Iron & Steel, Inc., Nevada State Contractors Board, Liberty Mutual Company, M.A.Mortenson Company, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc., Federal Insurance Company, and Mortenson-McCarthy Las Vegas Stadium Joint Venture; Hinner, Hinner,Rejek, LLC, and Hinner, LLC.
As you can see, the defendants are many, but not all, of the major contractors who have built Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium.
Ironworkers Suing For Interests, Costs, And Legal Fees
Plaintiffs are suing for interests, costs, and legal fees, according to the court’s documents.
The lawsuit asserts that the Mortenson-McCarthy JV, Mortenson, McCarthy JV, Merrill, and Derr singed something called The Project Labor Agreement, and that Mortenson-McCarthy JV, Mortenson and McCarthy, were specifically responsible for paying the ironworkers via The California Ironworkers Field Pension Trust.
Additionally, Derr was responsible for following a similar agreement called the Master Labor Agreement. Moreover, Derr also signed a document called an “Independent Agreement” with the District Council of Iron Workers of the State of California and Vicinity and union Local 433 where it agreed to be bound by the terms of the Iron Workers State of California and Portions of Nevada.
The Project Labor Agreement and the Master Labor Agreement and the Independent Agreement were all to cause the ironworkers to be paid.
The lawsuit complaint states that the plaintiffs never filed reports or made full payments as were required by the Project Labor Agreement, the Master Labor Agreement and the Independent Agreement. Moreover, audits to determine ability to pay were not permitted by the quintet of Mortenson-McCarthy JV, Mortenson, McCarthy JV, Merrill, and Derr. So, as the lawsuit reads, “It has become necessary for the Trust Fundsto retain legal counsel and initiate this lawsuit to protect theirlegal rights under thePLA, MLA, Independent Agreement, Trust Agreements, and ERISA.”
The first cause of action in the lawsuit is for breach of contract:
Mortenson-McCarthy JV, Mortenson, McCarthy, Merrill,Derrand/or their subcontractors are contractually delinquent for failing to remit reports for covered work performed by their employees and failing to pay contributions and/or other contract damages owed to the Trust Funds. The Trust Funds are entitled to receive monthly remittance reports from each identified contractor and all fringe benefit contributions, interest, and liquidated damages owed to the Trust Funds pursuant to the PLA, MLA, Independent Agreement, Trust Agreements and 29 U.S.C. § 1132(g)(2). And plaintiffs point to $1,146,618.37 that is a “known delinquency”, not paid to the Trust for the ironworkers.
The lawsuit reads “The Identified Delinquency consists of $922,334.01 in unpaid contributions for the September through December 2019 work months, $27,196.99 in accrued interest (which continues to accrue), and $197,087.37 in liquidated damages (which continue to accrue). Attorneys’ fees are also owed in a presently-undetermined amount that will continue to increase.”
Notable is the period of September through December 2019, which encompasses the additional work done on the cable-net roof, and covers the period where Zennie62Media / Oakland News Now was contacted by Las Vegas Stadium whistle-blower workers about the bad bolts and compression ring assembly problems.
Looks like what The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Rich Velotta called “conspiracy theories” by the Las Vegas Stadium Whistleblower Workers was not only completely wrong on his part, it looks like the same workers were getting stiffed by their contractors at the same time. But why?
What Connection Is There To The Whistle Blower Period Work, And What About The Merill Lawsuit Against Mortenson?
This active case is in the summons issuance period as I write this. It causes this blogger to ask a number of questions, including:
1) Was the $278 Million Merrill Steel Mechanics Lien ever really settled? The Las Vegas Stadium Authority said it was resolved, but this lawsuit indicates it may not have been, at least to the point where Merrill was paid enough to compensate ironworkers.
2) Is this related to the $144 million in work that needs to be done, as pointed out in the July 16th 2020 Stadium Progress Report at the meeting of the Law Vegas Stadium Authority, and is taking Las Vegas Stadium’s final completion date to December 2020?
3) Given The Pandemic, how are the many ironworkers who toiled on the Las Vegas Stadium Project doing? They were not only partially paid, but may have been on the job when the Coronavirus first hit. Are they okay?
This post will be frequently updated, starting today, Friday, July 23rd, so stay tuned.
The Plaintiff’s Lawsuit Complaint Document:
Derr’s Answer To The Lawsuit:
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