Six class action lawsuits against PCL Construction were combined into just one lawsuit in federal court late last week.
Chief Judge James Dever III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina made the ruling, noting that the lawsuits were inherently similar in nature.
The Court’s Order stated that the lawsuits “assert one or more similar claims arising out of the power outage affecting Ocracoke and Hatteras, North Carolina, and reflect one or more common issues of fact or law.”
The court also appointed a team of lawyers to go forward with the claims, which included Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP of Raleigh, the Zaytoun Law Firm of Raleigh, and Wallace & Graham, P.A. of Salisbury N.C., as the Interim Co-Lead Counsel.
A steering committee was also appointed of the Law Office of Jean Sutton Martin, PLLC, Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group, McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP, Hendren, Redwine & Malone, PLLC, Rose Harrison & Gilreath, P.C., and Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.
The Order also sets an initial status conference in the Federal Courthouse in Raleigh to occur on December 18, 2017, per a statement by Kill Devil Hills firm Rose, Harrison & Gilreath, P.C.
Deadlines and upcoming hearing dates will be established at the December 18 conference.
The lawsuit stems from the roughly week-long power outage that caused a mandatory evacuation for Hatteras and Ocracoke Island visitors during peak season, beginning on July 27. The outage was due to an accidentally cut cable on the southern edge of the Bonner Bridge construction site.
The lawsuit seeks to recoup as much as $16 million dollars.
Alternatively, PCL Construction also set up a website in order for residents, businesses and vacationers to file a claim directly. It is not known how many people have submitted a claim through the site, http://www.outerbanksclaimsteam.com/, however there have been mixed responses from locals who have submitted a claim, with many indicating they had received payment, and others noting that they had not received a check from PCL yet as of late September / early October.
In order to ensure an outage won’t happen again as the Bonner Bridge project continues into late 2018, CHEC representatives at an August public meeting noted that overhead lines were installed to ensure there was no chance a piling could be accidently driven into an underground line.
The overhead lines also make potential repairs much easier, as no sub-contractor or special equipment is needed to proceed – an issue that contributed to the eight-day summertime outage.
Questions regarding claims with PCL can be directed to the PCL Outer Banks Claim Team at 844-402-8570.