An attorney for the Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco Independent School District said they have mediation scheduled for Jan. 20 over the $3.4 million jury judgment awarded to them in October.
Both BB-PB ISD and attorneys for the Texas Political Subdivisions Property/Casualty Joint Self-Insurance Fund were back in District Court this week, concerning the defenses motion for a new trial and the plaintiff’s call for mediation in the matter.
The suit concerned storm and hail damage done to the roof structures at Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco High School, Ben Bolt Middle School and Palito Blanco Elementary School from as far back as 2002. The incidents led to water leaks and seepage of the roof structures at all three campuses. When the district brought up the matter at the time with their insurer, little action took place.
The district is still paying on the roof structures, which were part of a 2002 bond issue. Since then the case had lingered through the court process, until it finally went to trial late last year.
Following the jury award, the school district filed a motion for mediation, in an effort to avoid a possible appeals process.
On Nov. 6, the defense made a motion for a new trial.
In Dec., District Judge Richard Terrell passed on the motion, based on a Rule 11 agreement by both parties, in which both sides agreed to once again attempt mediation. Judge Terrell is currently taking the motion under advisement, as parties met this week in court, and confirmed that they would attempt mediation once again in Jan.
BB-PB ISD’s attorney, Nora Barrera Rycroft, said the mediation was planned scheduled by both parties for Jan. 20, in order to provide the district court with the opportunity to make a decision before the court loses jurisdiction in the matter.
By Jan. 27, the window of opportunity to mediate on the award will pass, and the only option left at that point for the defense would be to pursue an appeal, Barrera said, which school district officials have said is something they would like to avoid.