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Local property owners take developers to court

By Shane Benjamin Herald staff writer

Jury selection began Monday in a civil trial stemming from design and construction flaws at Rivergate Lofts, a residential and commercial building in south Durango.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks, including a week off during Memorial Day week. About 400 jury summons have been sent to residents. Jury selection is expected to last up to three days.

The lawsuit was filed Jan. 13, 2010, by Rivergate property owners who accused developers of numerous problems with the design and construction, from the foundation to the roof.

During the last two years, some disputes have been resolved out of court, but others will be decided by a jury. The lawsuit has become a complex web of plaintiffs versus defendants and counter suits.

As of Monday:

Rivergate Lofts Partners is suing Genex Construction LLC.

Bituminous Casualty Co., which is Genex Constructionís insurance company, is counter-suing Rivergate Lofts Partners.

Also, Okland Construction Co. is suing two subcontractors: Durango Plastering & Drywall and Perry Olsen Drywall Inc.

The case is being overseen by District Judge David Dickinson.

Rivergate Lofts is accessible by Colorado Highway 3 and sits above the Animas River across from the Durango Mall. It was approved for development in 2003, and the first residential units were occupied in 2005.

Residents have complained that something doesnít seem right about the design and construction of the development. Sound travels freely through concrete walls, among other complaints.

Opening statements are expected to be made Wednesday at the earliest.

shane@durangoherald.com

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