City retains law firm for courthouse settlement

$350 million Duval County Courthouse opened last month

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One month after the judicial branch moved out of the old Bay Street courthouse, the new Duval County Courthouse opened to the public Monday morning.

Problems getting the new Duval County Courthouse completed has prompted the city of Jacksonville's general counsel to retain an outside law firm in case that the final settlement with general contractor ends up in court.

The city notified the Bachara Construction Law Group of "engagement of legal representation and services related to potential claims and disputes arising out of the design, construction and turnover of the Duval County Unified Courthouse facility."

General Counsel Cindy Laquidara told Channel 4 it is typical to retain an independent law firm for what's called the contract close-out phase of a project of this scale.

The seven-story, 600,000-square-foot building cost about $350 million. In her words, the city "needs to know we have the courthouse we paid for."

DOCUMENT: City of Jacksonville letter of engagement with Bachara Construction Law Group

Laquidara stressed that there has be no decision to sue the contractor, Turner Construction, and she is not aware the contractor has any plan to sue the city.

The engagement notice says the city's budget for legal action is not to exceed $60,000 over a two-to three-month period.

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