New York State Thruway’s $8 Million Lawsuit Against General Contractor Dismissed

An $8.1 million lawsuit filed by the New York State Thruway Authority, against five companies involved in a wind turbine project, was recently dismissed by a New York State Supreme Court Judge. The motion to dismiss was filed by attorney Joseph J. Manna, who represents the project’s general contractor, Kandey Company.

Numerous media outlets reported on the dismissal of the Thruway Authority’s lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court. Joseph Manna spoke with The Buffalo New and WGRZ 2 On Your Side to provide insight for their coverage of the case. Continue reading for a summary of what led to the Thruway Authority’s wind turbine lawsuit being dismissed and click the video below to watch WGRZ’s report on the case, which includes an interview with Mr. Manna.

Thruway Authority Seeks Turbines for Green Energy Push

Nearly ten years ago, the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) sought to install five wind tribunes at various stops along New York’s Thruway. As reported by WGRZ, the NYSTA pursued the wind turbines in response to then Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for state agencies to move towards green energy. The NYSTA projected that, given their proximity to the shores of Lake Erie, the wind turbines would serve as a good source of renewable energy. Through a competitive bidding process, Western New York based Kandey Company was selected to serve as general contractor for the NYSTA’s wind turbine project. The wind turbines were installed in 2013-2014.

Wind Shear Malfunction and Thruway Authority Lawsuit

Approximately four years after installation, in late 2017 and early 2018, the wind turbines were taken offline due to mechanical issues. The velocity of the wind shear that the turbines were exposed to, rendered them unusable. According to The Buffalo News, the malfunctioning wind turbines drew significant attention and criticism in 2018. That same year, the NYSTA filed a suit against five contractors, manufacturers, and installers involved in the wind turbine project. The Buffalo News reported that the Thruway Authorities lawsuit alleged negligence, professional malpractice, breach of warranty and breach of contract.

Successful Motion Filed to Dismiss Lawsuit

Regarding the NYSTA’s lawsuit on the malfunctioning wind turbines, Joseph Manna said to WGRZ “They went after everybody and tried to avoid all responsibility.” Mr. Manna was ultimately successful in filing a motion to have the Thruway Authority’s lawsuit against his client and other defendants dismissed.

Nearly four years to the day the NYSTA filed the wind turbine lawsuit, New York State Supreme Court Justice Richard M. Platikin, based in Albany, ruled that the Thruway Authority’s lawsuit was dismissed. The Buffalo News reported “after 18 months of evidence discovery and motions, the judge agreed with the defendants that the state had failed to take into account the impact of the wind speed.”

Media reports stated that the Supreme Court judge presiding over the case felt the NYSTA “failed to demonstrate that the defendants were responsible for the equipment problems under their contracts with the Thruway Authority.” Justice Platikin stated “The Court is unpersuaded by NYSTA’s arguments.”

After the ruling, Joseph Manna told WGRZ “The state didn’t do what the state was supposed to do.” Mr. Manna went on to explain “the state was in hurry and did not test turbines.”

Joseph Manna summed up the ruling for the Buffalo News, stating “Bottom line here is that the state did not do its due diligence in testing winds to make sure the wind turbines they picked could stand up to the winds.”

More Information

For more information on the successful dismissal of this lawsuit or for any questions regarding Construction Litigation matters, click here to contact Joseph J. Manna.