By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — TIPTON — A German transmission manufacturer and a Michigan construction company will have to go to trial or agree to a settlement over a manufacturing plant near Tipton.
Walbridge Construction is suing Getrag Transmission, Getrag KG and Getrag International for $118.5 million for work on the planned joint manufacturing plant with Chrysler at the intersection of U.S. 31 and Ind. 28. The Indiana Court of Appeals denied a motion for an interlocutary appeal filed by Getrag seeking to dismiss Walbridge’s suit.
Getrag Transmission LLC filed the motion with the Indiana Court of Appeals after Tipton Circuit Court Judge Thomas Lett denied a motion for summary judgment in the suit.
Judge Lett determined the case against Getrag Transmission should go to trial or settlement, rather than dismissing the case filed in January.
As part of their motion, lawyers for Getrag also argued the case should be heard in Germany to save the company the expense of paying for company officials to travel to Indiana to testify in the case.
The proposed $580 million plant was never completed and was recently purchased by Chrysler Group LLC last year from W.W. Reynolds, which purchased the property from a trust formed by a bankruptcy court in Michigan.
In the lawsuit, attorneys for Walbridge indicated a substantial portion of the damages being sought will be distributed to compensate subcontractors employed by Getrag that have not been paid. The subcontractors are located in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Walbridge has lost “tens of millions” of dollars, much of which would have paid subcontractors, the lawsuit states.
Getrag KG has refused to pay Walbridge maintaining that Getrag Transmission LLC was responsible for the payments. Walbridge maintains promise of payment was made for the work at the facility.
Included in the lawsuit are six specific purchase orders submitted by Walbridge to Getrag for payment from April 2007 through October 2008 totalling $118.5 million.