Judge: City's suit against port expansion project manager can continue

Nathaniel Herz

A federal judge Tuesday rejected a request made by the project manager on Anchorage's mishandled port expansion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the city over flawed work at the site.

The ruling from Judge Sharon Gleason is a win for the city, which on Monday announced it had opened a separate lawsuit against the U.S. Maritime Administration.

The Sullivan administration is trying to recover millions of dollars spent on a proprietary design for a new dock that engineers say is flawed, and will have to be torn down.

It is suing both the Maritime Administration, which was charged with overseeing the expansion, as well as the project manager, Integrated Concepts and Research Corp., or ICRC, and two engineering firms.

In a 31-page decision, Gleason rejected the arguments made by ICRC about why the city's lawsuit was invalid.

ICRC's move to get the case dismissed had been joined by CH2M Hill, one of two engineering firms that are also being sued by the city. Municipal Attorney Dennis Wheeler said he thinks that Gleason's ruling makes a settlement of the city's lawsuit more likely.

"I'm hopeful that it would encourage the other side to consider approaching us about how to resolve this," he said.

Kurt Hamrock, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney who has represented ICRC on the case, declined to comment late Tuesday, saying that he had not yet read Gleason's decision.