Contractor accuses Pittston Twp. Sewer Authority of blocking work, withholding pay

By Patrick Kernan -

PITTSTON TWP. — A Shavertown construction firm is suing the Pittston Township Sewer Authority, claiming the authority is both preventing the company from finishing a project and refusing to pay until the project is done.

The Fehlinger Construction Group filed the suit against the authority in county court last week through its attorney, Timothy J. Woolford of the Lancaster-based Woolford Kranfer Law.

According to the suit, the construction group signed a contract in October 2015 to begin a project called the “H2O Grant John Poslusney Suscon Area Sanitary Sewer Project,” with a quoted price of over $3 million.

The contractor was set to install new pieces of sewer equipment, including new piping, manholes and paving.

The suit says the authority was required to gain permission from a total of 43 households to allow Fehlinger onto their properties to complete the work, which was scheduled to run from mid-October 2015 to late November 2016.

However, after given notice to proceed with the project, the construction company claims it found the authority had not obtained permission from all of the necessary households to allow Fehlinger on their properties, which caused Fehlinger to skip over properties where permission had not been obtained. The suit calls this an “extremely costly and inefficient way to perform the work.”

Fehlinger further claims that residents began to actively oppose the project, and began refusing to allow Fehlinger onto their property, even if the homeowners had previously given their permission.

“In some cases, Fehlinger’s workers were harassed, physically threatened, berated and humiliated while they were attempting to perform work on the project,” Woolford writes.

Fehlinger’s filing suggests the project has still not been completed, with just short of 20 of the households still needing work. It further suggests the authority has not paid any money to the construction company since the work has not been completed.

“In other words,” Woolford writes, “the authority is preventing Fehlinger from completing its work while at the same time refusing to pay Fehlinger because Fehlinger has not completed its work.”

Fehlinger is accusing the authority of breach of contract, violation of the Prompt Payment Act and unjust enrichment.

By Patrick Kernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan