Sunday, July 11, 2010

Legal mess over Pacifica cliff work grows

By Joshua Melvin
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 07/10/2010 10:21:31 PM PDT

A second lawsuit seeking compensation for unpaid construction bills has been filed over the effort to shore up a crumbling cliff that forced the evacuation of two coastside apartment buildings.

Drill Tech Drilling & Shoring alleges that Engineered Soil Repairs owes it $373,100 for work it did to build a retaining wall, according to a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court on July 2. That wall was designed to keep any more of the bluff behind the apartments at 330 Esplanade Ave. from tumbling into the Pacific Ocean.

The owner of the vacant 12-unit building, Farshid Samsami, is also named in the lawsuit.

Samsami's apartment house was evacuated in December when officials decided there wasn't enough bluff left to guarantee the safety of the renters. That kicked off an effort led by Engineered Soil Repairs to stabilize the cliff, which included dropping tons of boulders to protect the bluff from ocean waves and the building of the wall.

It also generated intense media coverage as people wondered whether the buildings would fall into the ocean. But Drill Tech's work on the wall stopped in February, for reasons not explained in the lawsuit, leaving Engineered Soil Repairs with the bill.

Steve O'Connor, head of Engineered Soil Repairs, didn't respond to a phone message seeking comment, and Samsami declined to speak about the matter when reached Friday. But there was a public round of finger-pointing several weeks ago when representatives of the Esplanade Avenue owners accused the wall's builder of shoddy workmanship after it fell apart. Engineered Soil Repairs said the wall failed because the building owners prematurely stopped construction. 


Posted by Steve Sinai

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