Town, Julian Enterprises agree to withdraw lawsuits

FAIRFIELD — After a legal back-and-forth between the town and Julian Enterprises regarding a fill pile on One Rod Highway, both parties have agreed to enter into an arbitration agreement.

The town had filed a civil lawsuit against Julian back in May 2017 and sought $3 million in damages, claiming the company did not fulfill the terms of a three-year contract that called for the reduction of a pile of road construction debris. Julian Enterprises filed its own lawsuit against the town claiming defamation.

Court documents filed Nov. 15 from the town and the company’s counter lawsuit show the parties have agreed to withdraw their claims.

“The parties agree to submit to binding arbitration the claims they have against each other currently pending before the Superior Court in Bridgeport,” the agreement reads. “These civil cases shall be withdrawn upon the execution of this agreement.”

According to court documents, the fill pile that was supposed to be reduced in size instead tripled in height and volume from 2013 to 2016.

As part of settling the case out the court, both parties were given until Jan. 28 next year to conclude their depositions.

Judge Elaine Gordon, a former Connecticut Superior Court judge from 1988 to 2011, was designated as the single arbitrator, and the hearing has been assigned to take place from Feb. 13 to Feb. 15.

“The parties agree to abide by any award issued by the arbitrator upon confirmation by the Superior Court and any damages awarded shall be paid within 30 days of confirmation. The parties agree that the decision is final and binding,” the agreement states.

Contaminated material was also discovered in late 2016 at the site by a licensed environmental professional hired by the town on an inspection visit. A cleanup of PCBs contaminated material concluded early this year.

First Selectman Michael Tetreau declined to comment, citing that the town does

not comment on pending litigation.

Julian Enterprises and Michael Stratton, an attorney who has represented the company, did not respond to requests for comment.

In an update to the Board of Selectmen in early October, Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo said costs to remediate a contaminated area at the town’s fill pile and construct a landscaped berm totaled nearly $800,000, but that such work had also saved the town money.

According to a finance department audit, the main drivers of these expenses were the soil testing and remediation, which cost $396,260, and in-house labor by public works and conservation to construct the berm, which amounted to $212,822.