Harmon Hotel Trial in Vegas – a Towering Case

A year-long trial is set to take place in order to address the structural problems and breach of contract that lead to the Harmon Hotel – located at Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard on the Vegas Strip – not being completed. The upcoming trial is based on the dispute between MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter project and the general contractor Tutor Perini.

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Harmon Hotel Construction

The Harmon Hotel’s construction was halted at 26 floors in 2008 after it became apparent that there were structural defects that would result in the building becoming an earthquake hazard as it was vulnerable to tremors. In addition, the structure would not be able to support the additional 22 floors that were planned, as reported by USA Today. The rest of the $9 billion CityCenter project was completed in 2009 with the unfinished hotel accounting for an estimated $500 million loss.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Las Vegas-based news publication, potential jurors were informed that due to issues that arose in 2008, “CityCenter withheld certain payments due to Perini. Perini similarly withheld payments due its subcontractors, Pacific Coast Steel and Ceco. Perini initiated a lien foreclosure action against CityCenter as did Pacific Coast Steel and Ceco. CityCenter filed a claim for damages against Perini.” It was estimated that up to $500 million was at stake in the breach of contract trial.

The trial is set to combine 12 lawsuits into one, with Tutor Perini ‘s lawyers arguing that MGM neglected to foot construction bills and MGM arguing that the building flaws are directly as a result of the contractor’s incompetence.

Unfinished Harmon Hotel

CityCenter’s unfinished Harmon Hotel is now systematically being dismantled after Judge Gonzalez ruled that the hotel should be dismantled piece by piece after the two parties concerned couldn’t reach a consensus about the fate of the building. Tutor Perini had argued that the building was structurally sound and that faults could be repaired, and MGM insisted on the building being demolished.

Court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said that more than 3 million evidence exhibits were logged for the trial, and that most will be presented in electronic form. The Las Vegas courtroom selected to host proceedings has been customised to accommodate all the parties concerned including sub-contractors. The court room now accommodates more than 35 lawyers and paralegal aides.

The Harmon Hotel tower was intended to soar 48 stories high – a sleek, cylindrical design with a glass facade – offering guests and condominium owner’s incredible views over the Las Vegas Strip. Although earthquakes in Las Vegas are extremely rare, a large one is not beyond the realm of possibility and that knowledge alone could cause a great many to lose a lot of sleep.

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