Published On: Thu, Apr 20th, 2017

Lawsuit involving Knox Co. settled in mediation

CENTER — Knox County Supervisors were given an update on a court case that involves Knox County during the Supervisor meeting on April 13.
The lawsuit was recently settled in a mediation agreement.
The lawsuit involved a road improvement project on the Lindsay/Santee road that runs through the Santee Indian Reservation in Knox County.
Half of the road improvement project had been paid for by funds from the Federal government and the other half came from the Bureau of Indian Affairs after the construction work on the road project was completed in 2012 and 2013.
A contract for the work had been given to Commercial Contractors Incorporated through the State of Nebraska.
John O’Dell was a sub-contractor for the road project.
After the project was completed and paid for, John O’Dell filed a lawsuit asking to also be paid for a silt fence, waddles, and mulch he had used during the work he had done on the road.
He hadn’t been paid because that part of the project did not meet State standards.
County Attorney John Thomas and Barta recapped what happened at a recent mediation meeting in Lincoln concerning a settlement on the lawsuit, which included Knox County.
“The Nebraska Department of Roads sent two engineers. Someone from the Attorney General’s Office also came to the meeting. It all helped,” Thomas said.
The State officials, attorneys and Thomas and Barta were separated from O’Dell and attorneys during the mediation meeting involving work that had been completed on the Lindsay/Santee road.
“It was a four-hour mediation meeting,” Barta said. “We sat for an hour before the mediator came back from the offer.”
A settlement of $17,500 was reached which is about 27 percent of the amount O’Dell had asked for in the lawsuit.
“It would have cost both sides more than that if we would have gone to trial,” Barta said.
“Doing this was better than a trial,” Thomas said.
One half of the settlement amount will be paid by the Santee Sioux Tribe and the other half will come from Federal Highway funds according to Barta.
Knox County will pay the settlement amount now but will be reimbursed.