December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Avon sues contractors over collapse of pole at All Pro Freight Stadium

Daniel Helm, vice president of business operations for the Lake Erie Crushers, looks over the destroyed light unit at All Pro Freight Stadium on Dec. 15, 2011. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

Daniel Helm, vice president of business operations for the Lake Erie Crushers, looks over the destroyed light unit at All Pro Freight Stadium on Dec. 15, 2011. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

ELYRIA — The city of Avon and its insurance company are suing the companies that designed and built All Pro Freight Stadium, including the company that installed the ballpark’s massive light poles, one of which snapped in December 2011.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court, said the fall of the 120-foot tall light pole on Dec. 14 or Dec. 15, 2011, forced U.S. Specialty Insurance Co. to pay out $213,000 to the city to cover the damage both to the pole and the stadium.

The poles should have been able to stand up to the wind at the time, according to the lawsuit. A National Weather Service reporting station at the Lorain County Regional Airport registered wind speeds of between 15 and 20 mph on the evening of Dec. 14, 2011, with gusts of around 35 mph on the morning of Dec. 15, 2011.

The pole had illuminated the third-base area of the $13.6 million stadium, which opened in 2009.

After the pole collapsed, the city brought in an expert to examine seven other light poles at the facility.

“The expert engineer retained by Avon determined from an analysis of the fractured pole the remaining seven light poles were in a condition that would lead to their catastrophic failure,” the lawsuit said.

Those findings led the city, which owns the stadium where the Lake Erie Crushers baseball team plays, to replace the remaining light poles at a cost of $361,000, the lawsuit said.

The stadium was designed by RWL Architects Inc. of Elyria and built by Cleveland-based Infinity Construction Co., according to the lawsuit. The light poles were subcontracted to Lindstrom Sports Lighting Inc., an Illinois company formerly known as Universal Sports Lighting Inc.

The lawsuits accuse the companies of breach of contract and also stated that the lighting company has failed to honor its warranty on its products and to reimburse the city for damages.

The lawsuit asks for $574,000 in damages as well as court costs and legal fees.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.