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Arbitration panel rejects $1.6 million in claims by M.A. Mortenson Company against Central Roofing Company related to Walker Art Center rehabilitation

EDINA, MN – May 15, 2017 – An arbitration panel ruled in favor of Central Roofing Company and against M.A. Mortenson Company in a dispute regarding leaks into galleries at the Walker Art Center.

Hellmuth & Johnson represented Central Roofing Company in its defense of Mortenson’s arbitration demand, which included claims of breach of contract, breach of warranties and indemnity. Mortenson demanded $1.6 million in damages alleging water leaks into the Walker Art Center were caused by Central Roofing. Central Roofing denied the claims and counterclaimed for unpaid retainage and extra-contractual costs related to the project. The panel ruled against Mortenson and in Central Roofing’s favor on all claims based on the evidence presented and instead awarded Central Roofing damages on its counterclaims.

In 2012, The Walker Art Center hired Mortenson to perform an expansive brick remediation project at the Walker Art Center’s Barnes building. Mortenson determined during the project that three terrace roofs needed to be replaced as part of the project. Mortenson executed a subcontract with Central Roofing to install the new roofing, which was then covered with granite pavers and pre-cast brick panels for walking surfaces. Central Roofing completed its roofing work in November 2013. Water entered the Walker in early 2014 despite extensive flood testing to confirm that the new roofing materials were weatherproof.

Mortenson and the Walker chose to replace the roofing materials with a newly designed system in 2014. Mortenson then demanded that Central Roofing pay for the roof replacement.

In its arbitration award, the panel held that the leaks in the Walker were caused by a combination of factors unrelated to Central Roofing’s work, which included damage arising from Mortenson’s installation of granite pavers and precast brick panels after Central Roofing completed its work, design deficiencies, condensation, and a number of other issues. In addition, the panel awarded $84,958 in damages to Central Roofing for unpaid amounts Mortenson owed under the subcontract and the costs and expenses Central Roofing incurred for extra work performed in 2014 to investigate and repair the issues at the Walker.

“This award conclusively shows Central Roofing Company did everything required of them for this project and that any criticisms of their work were unfounded. Now the team at Central Roofing can continue to focus on what they do best, which is building great roofs on top projects,” said Hellmuth & Johnson attorney J. Robert Keena, who acted as the lead attorney representing Central Roofing in the arbitration.

Central Roofing Company is an 85-year-old Minnesota-based company that is an industry leader in roofing applications. The company’s projects range from high-rise apartment buildings and air traffic control towers to church steeples and convention center domes.

The Hellmuth & Johnson team that successfully defended the claims, led by Keena, included attorneys Joe Barnett, Joseph Beckman and Paige Fishman.

About Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC
Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC, a Top 20 Minnesota law firm, represents clients ranging from individuals and emerging start-ups to large, multinational Fortune 500 companies. Hellmuth & Johnson attorneys are experts in their fields spanning many industries and sectors. Focusing on transactional law, litigation and appeals, the firm’s attorneys represent clients in practices ranging from construction, finance, patent, trademark and copyright litigation, business and real estate to estate planning and family law. Founded in 1994, Hellmuth & Johnson has become one of Minnesota’s fastest growing law firms. Learn more at

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