Judge rules in favor of Tulare hospital

The Fresno BeeDecember 17, 2013 

A federal judge has ruled in favor of Tulare Regional Medical Center in a contract dispute with Harris Construction, the medical center said.

Harris is building a 115,000-square-foot hospital in Tulare, a project that has been delayed due to delaminating concrete on two floors that led to cost overruns, according to TRMC.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O'Neill in Fresno on Friday denied Harris' request for a temporary restraining order to stop work. The company said the hospital might have trouble paying the contractor, TRMC said in a statement.

Mark Newman, assistant to the president at Harris Construction, said concrete delamination did not cause the majority of cost overruns. Rather, hundreds of changes in design and construction requested by TRMC caused costs to balloon, he said.

The $34 million project is now costing more than $50 million, he said.

In a statement, Tulare Regional attorney Leonard Herr said, "Harris demanded the court exercise its authority in a remarkably broad way. The hospital district is gratified that the judge chose restraint. Harris' dispute with the hospital can be resolved through mediation or litigation; but Harris essentially asked the judge to order a publicly owned hospital to stop trying to offer better facilities and health care services to the public without a trial."

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6104, lgriswold@fresnobee.com or @fb_LewGriswold on Twitter.

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