Jury sides with contractor in dispute with Lake County over broadband project
After five days of testimony and evidence, a jury on Friday ruled in favor of Rohl Networks LP, awarding the company more than $2.075 million in its lawsuit against Lake County regarding work done on the county's broadband network, Lake Connections.
Rohl, of Jupiter, Fla., was the main contractor during the construction of the broadband network, Lake Connections, from 2012 to 2015. Among other aspects of the lawsuit, Rohl claimed the county failed to pay what it owed for the work it performed and didn't obtain contracts, permits and agreements in a timely manner necessary to allow the company to perform its work.
The jury on Friday found that under the three contracts — Phase 1, Phase 2A and Phase 2B — the county owed Rohl more than $25 million. Jurors also found that under those same three contracts, the county has so far paid Rohl more than $22.8 million.
The jury did not award Rohl any money for labor or materials supplied outside the scope of the contracts, and did not award the county any liquidated damages due to the delay of the project. The jury of eight did find that Rohl owed Lake County $223,961 for back charges and/or owner-furnished materials not installed in the project or returned to Lake County.
"This last week was a study about why government entities shouldn't get involved in private enterprises," Rohl attorney Gregory Spalj said during closing arguments.
When the News-Chronicle reached out for a comment, Lake County Board chair Rich Sve said the county was not ready to make a comment at this time.
Reached Friday night, Lake County Board chair Rich Sve told the News-Chronicle that the county was not ready to make a comment about the verdict at that time.
In November 2016, Judge Michael Cuzzo granted the county's application to release property affected by a mechanic's lien filed by Rohl on the condition that the county deposit a bond totaling more than $3 million with the county court administrator, to be used toward any possible verdict or judgment in the case.
Read an expanded version of this story on the Lake County News-Chronicle website.