The Herald Bulletin

October 15, 2013

$120M lawsuit over Indiana factory moves ahead


The Associated Press

TIPTON, Ind. — The Indiana appeals court has decided against stopping a lawsuit filed by a Detroit-based construction company seeking nearly $120 million from the German company that halted building a new transmission factory in central Indiana five years ago.

The appeals court declined last week to hear an appeal from Getrag Transmission of a Tipton County judge's ruling that the lawsuit filed by Walbridge Construction should go to trial or settlement negotiations, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

Walbridge's lawsuit seeks $118.5 million from Getrag for work on the sprawling factory along U.S. 31 near the city of Tipton that Getrag was building as part of a partnership with Chrysler. Getrag stopped construction of the planned $530 million factory in 2008 and filed for bankruptcy after Chrysler pulled out of the project.

The lawsuit claims Getrag's actions cost Walbridge lost tens of millions of dollars, much of which would have paid subcontractors from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. Walbridge maintains promise of payment was made for the work at the 800,000-square-foot factory about 30 miles north of Indianapolis.

Getrag sought dismissal of the lawsuit and has argued the dispute 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.

Officials of Chrysler, which emerged from bankruptcy since ending its Getrag partnership, announced plans in February for spending $162 million to complete the Tipton factory and hire 850 workers there.