A Houston attorney filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a contracting company on behalf of almost 50 people seeking compensation for vehicles they say were damaged during a road milling project on Interstate 45.

“I’ve heard absolutely nothing from Durwood Greene,” attorney William Underwood III said.

“They did call my office and speak to my assistant, but I haven’t heard anything directly from them about the claims being denied, which I find rather appalling.”

Wednesday’s filing in the Galveston County district court system comes after many upset drivers called the Texas Department of Transportation to complain about the contracting company, Durwood Greene Construction, and the work it performed on the north- and southbound lanes along a 2.1-mile stretch of highway between Tiki Island and Texas City, said Danny Perez, spokesman for the department.

Transportation department officials referred callers to Durwood Greene, but many residents complained that no one representing the company would answer the phone.

Durwood Greene Construction has not responded to numerous requests for comment.

Some residents said weeks after initial phone calls they received denial letters for claims filed with the company.

Durwood Greene was awarded a $3.32 million contract from Texas Department of Transportation for the project, which requires the company to keep the roadways safe for travel and in passable condition during projects, the filing asserts.

“During the months of August and September 2017, Durwood Greene failed to properly maintain its work area and allowed excessive gravel and other debris to remain in areas where it and its employees, contractors and/or representatives knew, or should have known, would cause an unreasonable danger or harm to the public at large and the plaintiffs herein,” the filing asserts.

The company also initially failed to provide warning signs to let the public know about the risk of vehicle damage, according to the lawsuit.

Durwood Greene eventually placed warning signs after public complaints, but didn’t do enough to protect vehicles from damage, the lawsuit asserts.

“Additionally, certain of the plaintiffs have sustained personal injuries from such negligence,” the lawsuit asserts.

Durwood Greene officials eventually sent letters denying claims, contending the damage was because of road hazard.

The filing asks the court to force Durwood Greene to preserve all evidence related to the case — including records and exchanges — and asks for a jury trial.

The lawsuit seeks between $200,000 and $1 million in damages, records show.

It had not been assigned to a specific court on Wednesday.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

(1) comment

Gary Scoggin

A question for Reps Bonnen and Faircloth and for Sen. Taylor. (And for Miles Middleton, too.) Would you support legislation giving greater accountability to state contractors in this regard?

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