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Hawthorne Construction Company Alleges Breach of Contract in Lawsuit Against Plum Creek

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A construction company based in Hawthorne filed a complaint last week in Alachua County civil court against Plum Creek Timberlands, now the largest private owner of timberland in the country, seeking thousands of dollars in damages.

According to the lawsuit, JAW Construction Inc. and Plum Creek entered into a contract beginning Dec. 1, 2013, for JAW to provide road maintenance, equipment rental, and other services to Plum Creek, whose Envision Alachua sector plan county officials are still reviewing. As of Friday, Plum Creek is now part of Weyerhaeuser, but the lawsuit was filed Feb. 16, predating the merger’s completion.

The 2013 contract stated Plum Creek was to pay JAW a minimum of $35,000 per month for three years, as well as for any additional work JAW did for the company.

But on Jan. 5, 2015, Plum Creek notified JAW it was terminating the contract because a JAW employee had inaccurately reported his work hours, the complaint says; it alleges Plum Creek has not paid JAW since.

According to the lawsuit, JAW was unaware of the allegation against the employee and contends the alleged misconduct is an insufficient reason to void the contract.

JAW says Plum Creek violated the agreement by voiding the contract and suspending payments.

The complaint asks for a jury trial seeking payments owed from Jan. 5, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2016 – the date of the contract’s conclusion.

Multiple requests for comment to representatives of both JAW Construction Inc. and Plum Creek were not returned.

In reference to the merger’s impact on Envision Alachua, Weyerhaeuser senior vice president Jim Kilberg wrote in a statement: “Weyerhaeuser is committed to the process and the goals of Envision Alachua, including job creation and environmental conservation.

“Our team in Gainesville is doing a tremendous job and has engaged the community to plan and achieve a shared vision for east Alachua County.  They will continue their work to make this vision a reality with the full support of Weyerhaeuser.”

A decision about the Envision Alachua sector plan could come as soon as Thursday night, when the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners will hear more public comment and determine whether or not the plan should be transmitted to the state. That public meeting begins at 5 p.m. at Eastside High School.

About Graham Hall

Graham is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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