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Attorneys push for facade trial to stay in Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Common Council's Judiciary and Legislative Committee voted unanimously Monday to settle a lawsuit against three engineering and design firms that worked on the City Hall restoration project in 2008. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

Milwaukee city attorneys on Thursday will ask Judge David Hansher to keep a trial over a City Hall restoration project in Milwaukee. (File photo by Kevin Harnack)

Milwaukee city attorneys have officially opposed a motion for a change of venue in the lawsuit over construction of City Hall’s facade.

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc., Massachusetts, last month filed a motion to move the trial to Waukesha County, citing “inflammatory” media coverage that they said made a fair trial in Milwaukee County impossible.

In its opposition filed Aug. 1, the city said Simpson Gumpertz & Heger’s motion failed to demonstrate that any potential jurors were affected by media coverage.

Miriam Horwitz, the assistant city attorney who signed the opposition, declined to comment.

The defendant is one of three remaining in a lawsuit the city filed in 2012. The companies were among those named as responsible for a restoration of the City Hall facade. After completion of the work in 2008, pieces of the facade cracked and fell.

The city brought suit against the design team, which included Simpson Gumpertz & Heger as well as Bloom Cos. LLC and Engberg Anderson Inc., both of Milwaukee.

The city also brought suit against the project’s general contractor, Janesville-based J.P. Cullen and Sons Inc. The city has since settled with Cullen,which will be restoring the facade at a discounted price.

The hearing on the potential change of venue is scheduled for Thursday morning in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Hansher’s court.


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