New Zealand Wastewater Treatment Facility Issues Could Be Settled in Mediation
Friday, November, 13, 2015
The Wanganui District Council in New Zealand is positive a resolution will soon be reached in its multi-million dollar claim filed against MWH Global, an international engineering firm. The company designed Wanganui’s wastewater treatment plant, located at the Airport Road facility. The city is now claiming the plant has a number of shortcomings and must be replaced – something that is going to cost the city about $38 million.
Mediation sessions began mid-October, after an order by an area justice. The decision was made at one of the pre-trial conferences, when MWH asked that the trial be postponed. The justice also ordered MWH to make a definitive effort to settle the issue at mediation.
So far, negotiations seem to be going well. The deputy-mayor believes there is a good chance the matter will be resolved in mediation. Though no additional dates have been set for meetings, the two sides’ attorneys are corresponding on a regular basis. The deputy-mayor is hopeful another face-to-face meeting will not even be necessary at this point.
He stated once the issue is settled, the settlement amount will remain confidential and there will be no legal admission of liability. He’s hoping confidentiality will help the city’s case. If the matter is not settled in mediation it will go to trial and MWH could experience damage to its reputation. He’s hopeful that the opportunity to settle the matter through mediation and keep the issues private, and not directly blame MWH for the problems, will encourage the company to negotiate and agree to settlement outside of the courtroom.