Magistrate rules against demolition company in Menards lawsuit

By Ed Runyan


A magistrate in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court has ruled in favor of Menard Inc. in a 2015 lawsuit filed against DiPaolo Industrial Development, a Girard company hired to demolish the former Walmart store on Elm Road to make way for the Menard store that is on that location now.

Monday’s decision says DiPaolo breached its contract by failing to complete items outlined in the contract and failing to complete work on time and in a “workmanlike quality.”

The ruling indicates DiPaolo is not entitled to any of the money he sought from Menards, but Menards is entitled to back charge DiPaolo $137,405 that Menards paid to McConnell Excavating to complete DiPaolo’s work.

A hearing will be at 10 a.m. June 13 to establish the amount of damages.

Construction of the store was delayed by conflicts between Menards and DiPaolo over what Menards considered DiPaolo’s defective and nontimely work. Menards hired McConnell to finish the job.

DiPaolo Industrial Development is owned by Sergio DiPaolo of Girard, who also owned the former Packard Electric complex on Dana Street Northeast until he lost it in bankruptcy court last May. DiPaolo owned that property under the name Maximus III.

AutoParkit purchased the Packard property out of bankruptcy as part of the automated parking company it operates there.

DiPaolo’s demolition work for Menards was supposed to be complete by Dec. 27, 2013, and “crushing” of the demolition materials was supposed to be complete by Jan. 31, 2014, the magistrate’s decision says. By March 12, 2014, Menards had issued two letters to DiPaolo expressing “concerns [Menards] was having with [DiPaolo’s] work,” the ruling says.

Menards sent about six more letters and threatened legal action by May 29, 2014, when Menards gave DiPaolo a “final notice breach of contract/abandonment of property” letter indicating that DiPaolo had failed to fulfill its obligations under the contract.

Menards paid DiPaolo $214,492. Menards filed the breach-of-contract lawsuit against DiPaolo on Jan. 29, 2015. DiPaolo then filed a counter suit against Menards for breach of contract and other allegations.

DiPaolo also filed a mechanic’s lien against Menards in June 2014. A mechanic’s lien is a way for someone who has not been paid for services to keep possession of the property involved.

Magistrate Jami Bishop’s judgment entry ruled in favor of Menards in every remaining count in the lawsuit and rejected the remaining issues in DiPaolo’s counter suit. The magistrate ordered DiPaolo to withdraw the mechanic’s lien within 30 days.

DiPaolo, through his attorney, Michael Partlow, can file written objections to the ruling within 14 days. Judge W. Wyatt McKay can adopt, reject or modify the magistrate’s decision.

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