Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court of Claims: Contractor Agrees to Repay ODOT for Faulty Fuel Management System

Ohio Department of Transportation v. E. J. Ward, Inc., Case No. 2014-00405

The Ohio Court of Claims approved a $1.25 million settlement between the Ohio Department of Transportation and a Texas firm that was unable to fulfill its $6 million contract to install a system to track and improve fuel use by the department’s vehicle fleet.

Last week, the court approved San Antonio-based E.J. Ward, Inc.’s plan to pay back $1.25 million after ODOT had sought $2.1 million in payments it made to the company plus additional funding to secure a substitute vendor. Ward responded to an ODOT 2012 request for proposal for a “Fuel Management System” that included computer hardware and software to track fuel usage and performance of ODOT’s extensive vehicle fleet.

According to the original complaint filed by ODOT in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, the agency agreed to make periodic payments to Ward for the $6 million contract that included installing monitoring hardware at the fueling stations across the state. ODOT claimed the installation started in the late fall of 2012 and it soon found extensive issues getting the equipment to communicate with ODOT’s existing computer network.

The agency said the dissatisfaction with Ward’s work came to a head when two ODOT employees were traveling in a pick-up truck that lost power because of the Ward tracking equipment. The vehicle went left of center almost causing an accident. At that time ODOT had paid Ward more than $2.1 million.

The case was moved from the common pleas court to the Court of Claims when Ward filed a counterclaim against ODOT. The Court of Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over claims against the state.

As part of the settlement, Ward does not admit to any wrongdoing, and both parties agree not to make further claims against the other.

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