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Change of venue requested in City Hall facade suit

By: Molly Willms//August 8, 2013//

Change of venue requested in City Hall facade suit

By: Molly Willms//August 8, 2013//

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Milwaukee Common Council's Steering & Rules Committee on Tuesday endorsed the hiring of J.P Cullen & Sons to fix the damaged facade on City Hall for $6,707,000. Cullen was the general contractor on the facade restoration project, which ended in 2008.
A Massachusetts-based building engineer has requested a change of venue for its part of the Milwaukee City Hall facade lawsuit. The company cites “inflammatory” media coverage for the request. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

Citing “inflammatory” media coverage, a defendant in a lawsuit over the facade of Milwaukee City Hall is requesting the trial be moved west.

Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger Inc., a Massachusetts-based building engineer, has requested a change of venue from Milwaukee to Waukesha County.

Assistant City Attorney Miriam Horwitz said the city will oppose the motion.

Simpson, Humpertz & Heger is one of three “design defendants” in a lawsuit brought by the city of Milwaukee after the recently renovated City Hall facade showed signs of deterioration.

Representatives for Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger declined to comment on the motion.

According to court documents, news coverage from Milwaukee outlets has shown only the city’s side of the story.

“It is undisputable,” the motion reads, “that the City has tainted the Milwaukee County jury pool by deliberately introducing into the public domain its causation theories without consideration of alternative causes of distress.”

While people in Waukesha County may have read the news coverage, the motion reads, it does not have a direct impact on their tax dollars and makes them less likely to show bias.

The next motion hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 15 in Judge David Hansher’s court.


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