August 1, 2014

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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.

  • Macdaddyoh

    It appears the Illinois lighing company mentioned no longer has a web site. Judgements on a dead business will not get you paid. They need to lift the corporate veil and hold the shareholders personally and finacially responsible.

    • Pablo Jones

      If the company went under and was a public company the stockholders already paid with the loss of their investment. If you are suggesting that shareholders should be held accountable for more than their investment then you will have nearly everyone in the country listed on every lawsuit.

  • Brian_Reinhardt

    Something kind of disturbing here…

    Mike and Chuck Lindstrom both run sports lighting systems companies and I just checked some of the specs. and examples of installations of lights and there’s several examples they have listed that appear to be identical to the masts that had insufficient welding from Avon.

    It might be worth the time if someone got on the phone and checked this out before someone is crushed by one of those light poles.

  • Chuck Northcutt

    Oh my!! Thank God that none of these blew down during a game where people could have been hurt, or worse!