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James Cape bid sharing lawsuit settled (UPDATE)

By Caley Clinton

The former James Cape & Sons Co.’s case against a former employee and two other construction firms was settled Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court.

Cape’s case against Daniel Beaudoin, the company’s former project manager, as well as Manitowoc-based Vinton Construction Co. and Holmen-based Streu Construction Co., claimed Cape is owed money lost because Beaudoin shared the company’s bid numbers with Vinton and Streu.

Streu is no longer in business, and Cape went out of business in 2005.

The trial was set to begin Tuesday, said Dan Flaherty an attorney in the Milwaukee office of Godfrey & Kahn SC who represented the Vinton defendants, but a settlement that includes no admission of liability on the part of any party was reached Tuesday morning.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Patrick Knight, an attorney in the Milwaukee office of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP representing Beaudoin, said Tuesday’s settlement should finalize the years-long issue.

“This should be the end of all litigation arising out of it,” he said.

The move to settle came to fruition in the past month or so, Knight said, though it was part of the discussions for some time.

The matter has yet to go before Judge Dennis Barry in a related bankruptcy case in Racine County Circuit Court, said Beverly Westphal, deputy court clerk. Barry has to approve the settlement as part of Cape’s receivership case, she said.

Matthew Flynn, an attorney in the Milwaukee office of Quarles & Brady LLP representing Cape, did not immediately return calls for comment.

According to a previously reported study commissioned for the lawsuit by Cape’s attorneys, an alleged bid-rigging scheme from 1997 to 2004 influenced bids on $224.4 million in contracts, $176.3 million of which went to Streu, Vinton or Cape. Cape won $26.4 million of those contracts, Streu landed $82.7 million, and Vinton won $67.1 million.

A Racine County Circuit Court judge initially dismissed Cape’s suit, but a state court of appeals reversed the ruling in September 2009. Attorneys representing Vinton and Streu then asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review the case, but the court refused in January 2010.

Andrew Erlandson, an attorney in the Madison office of Hurley, Burish & Stanton SC representing the Streu defendants, said “all parties are pleased to have reached a resolution on the case.”

No further court action is expected as a result, he said.

Knight said Beaudoin has “moved on” and “is happy to see this come to an end.”

Flaherty said the Vinton defendants are “very happy the case is over,” as well.

“It’s been a long and cumbersome process,” Flaherty said. “My clients are now looking forward to the upcoming construction season.”

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