The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


July 13, 2012

Judge enforces lawsuit settlement

FARRELL — A local judge has ordered that a settlement agreement be enforced in a spat between an industrial landlord and a former tenant.

Although the former Duferco Farrell Corp., Farrell, and Haywood Industries had told Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher J. St. John they had settled the case, and Haywood abandoned an appeal of St. John’s decision to grant Duferco summary judgment, the terms of the settlement agreement were not carried out.

Haywood, of Youngstown, said a formally executed settlement agreement has not been prepared because Duferco – now known as NLMK Pennsylvania – insisted that both parties release each other from future potential law suits.

In the settlement copy provided by Haywood, Duferco releases Haywood from future liability.

According to Haywood, the sides never contemplated a mutual release.

NLMK said “preliminary negotiations never matured into a binding agreement,” as “the parties did not reach agreement on all of the material terms.”

In an order filed Monday, St. John said a mutual release of “all potential causes of actions is not and was not a material term to the parties agreement to settle.”

A mutual release “would require additional consideration above and beyond consideration for the normal general release related to a specific cause of action.”

Under the settlement approved by St. John, Haywood will pay NLMK $25,000 and give up claims to an overhead crane on the NLMK property.

The lawsuit stemmed from Haywood abandoning property it leased in from Caparo Steel Corp. – the prior owner of the former Sharon Steel Corp. property and predecessor to Duferco – starting in 1995.

At some point, Duferco notified Haywood officials that cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls were found in concrete flooring of the space Haywood rented.

Duferco attempted to remove the material but “may have been unsuccessful,” St. John said.

Haywood abandoned the space in March 2004 because of the potential health risks, and stopped paying rent in June 2004.

Duferco sued in 2005 for breach of contract.

St. John ruled in favor of NLMK on July 27, saying the lease does not require Duferco to provide space free of environmental contaminants and Haywood did not detail the danger the PCBs presented to the company.

St. John ordered Haywood to pay NLMK $35,730.

Haywood appealed to Superior Court, but failed to file its appeal brief after the settlement was reached

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