Harrison County Recovers Money From Courthouse Collapse Repairs
(Re-printed with permission from SUN HERALD)
Tuesday, February 14, 1995
Section: COAST & STATE
BLAKE KAPLAN THE SUN HERALD
It took nearly 10 years, but Harrison County will fully recover the $2.36 million it
spent on repairs after the county courthouse in Gulfport partially collapsed in 1985.
County supervisors on Monday signed off on the last part of a complex legal saga
involving three separate lawsuits. Two of the suits have already been settled, and the
county will reap another $950,000 from the third.
``We feel a wrong has been righted,'' said District 2 Supervisor Larry Benefield.
The latest settlement was with U.S. Fire Insurance Co. of New Jersey, which
insured the general contractor and subcontractor on the project. U.S. Fire had initially
claimed the collapse was not covered under its insurance policy.
But Gulfport attorney Tim Holleman, who handled the case for the county with his
father, Boyce, said U.S. Fire later admitted the collapse was covered on its policy.
The county and U.S. Fire reached a settlement Friday.
From its two other lawsuits, the county has already recovered $1.5 million from
Standard Fire Insurance Co., the county's insurance carrier, and $500,000 from the
three contractors on the project.
The county has now collected a total of $2.95 million from the three lawsuits, with
the excess $590,000 going to expenses and legal fees.