Another lawsuit has been filed about work done last year on a pipeline project extending through the Kennebec Valley.
Nomad Pipeline Services, a Minnesota company specializing in horizontal drilling and pipeline construction, filed a lawsuit in federal court this week against Wisconsin-based Schmid Pipeline Construction Inc. and Schmid’s insurance company, Liberty Mutual. The suit claims Nomad still is owed more than $1.1 million for work it did last year on Summit Natural Gas of Maine’s 68-mile natural gas steel transmission pipeline running from Pittston to Madison.
Julie Rowey, director of marketing and communications for Colorado-based Summit Natural Gas, parent company of Summit Natural Gas of Maine, said Summit had no comment on the latest lawsuit. She noted the steel pipeline that was involved in the lawsuit has been completed, and the lawsuit has no effect on Summit’s ongoing pipeline work as it expands its natural gas pipeline to businesses and residents in the Kennebec Valley.
The lawsuit states Nomad was owed more than $3.2 million by Schmid, the general contractor on the Summit pipeline project, when Schmid notified Nomad, Nov. 20, 2013, it was terminating its contract. The lawsuit further says “Schmid had elected to walk off the project without any notification of any kind to Schmid’s contractors, including Nomad, and without explanation of any kind.”
In April, Summit officials announced that the firm had completed the pipeline to the UPM Madison Paper mill, the final portion of the transmission line project. Construction of transmission pipelines for Summit and competitor Maine Natural Gas tied up roads in central Maine much of last year as they raced to reach commercial and industrial customers.
The new lawsuit is related to a larger lawsuit filed by Schmid against Summit last year after Schmid ceased its work on the project, claiming the scope of work on the job was significantly greater than originally anticipated. Schmid’s lawsuit claims it had to increase the number of workers and hours, materials and equipment on the job, but Summit failed to increase payments to Schmid in response. It seeks $72 million in damages from Summit for work it says it performed prior to “demobilizing from the jobsite” Nov. 20.
In April, another subcontractor on the project, Ursa Major Underground Inc., of Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit against Schmid and Liberty Mutual similar to the one filed this week by Nomad, claiming it was owed more than $1.7 million by Schmid for its work on the Summit pipeline.
Nomad’s lawsuit notes that Summit paid the company some of the $3.2 million it claims it is owed by Schmid, but not all it was owed.
“Following Schmid’s termination Summit, as the project owner, in an effort to retain Nomad on the project, on several occasions advanced Nomad a portion of the monies owed by Schmid,” states the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court of Maine by Gavin G. McCarthy and two other attorneys with the Portland law firm Pierce Atwood.
However, the suit notes that the company still is owed more than $1.1 million.
Nomad continued to work on the $350 million project after Schmid left, as a subcontractor for Daniel O’Connell Construction Co., the firm hired by Summit to replace Schmid.
In January, Summit agreed to pay $38 million to 10 to 20 contractors who continued to work on the job after Schmid left. It is unclear whether Nomad was one of those firms paid with those funds.
An attorney who filed Schmid’s lawsuit against Summit, John Hobson, of Portland-based law firm Perkins Thompson, could not be reached for comment Friday on behalf of Schmid.
Keith Edwards — 621-5647 | [email protected] | Twitter: @kedwardskj