Wyoming Machinery wins $1.4M judgment from wind farm subcontractor

2012-01-14T23:45:00Z 2012-01-21T19:00:17Z Wyoming Machinery wins $1.4M judgment from wind farm subcontractorBy TOM MORTON Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
January 14, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Machinery Co. of Mills recently won a nearly $1.4 million judgment against a California company and its namesake owner for failing to pay for equipment used in the construction of three wind farms in Converse and Carbon counties, according to Natrona County District Court records.

Jerry Herling Construction Inc. and Jerry Herling himself are both responsible for the agreements they had with Wyoming Machinery Co., Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking ruled in December.

“JHCI failed to pay for equipment and services delivered and supplied by Wyoming Machinery on the wind farms and incurred charges (of) $1,383,472.93,” Wilking wrote.

The state civil lawsuit and judgment against Jerry Herling Construction Inc. and Jerry Herling himself is separate from a federal court judgment in October that awarded the general contractor Tetra Tech nearly $1.5 million from the same defendants.

Herling Construction and Herling attorney Carissa Mobley did not return calls seeking comment on the judgment.

This case, like the federal case, began in 2008 when PacifiCorp hired Tetra Tech as general contractor to build the Glenrock and Rolling Hills wind farm projects in Converse County, and the Seven Mile wind farm project in Carbon County.

Tetra Tech hired Herling Construction as a subcontractor for certain jobs.

Herling and Jerry Herling Construction signed an agreement with Wyoming Machinery in July 2008 to rent earthmovers, scrapers, belly dumps, and other equipment and services, according to Wyoming Machinery’s attorney, Tim Stubson.

But Herling fell behind in payments and asked Tetra Tech to directly pay its vendors and subcontractors, according to the state and federal lawsuits.

After Tetra Tech paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to some of those vendors and subcontractors, it learned that Herling owed more than it represented, according to federal

court records.

On Sept. 13, 2008, Jerry Herling Construction removed its equipment from the project sites, and Tetra Tech terminated the subcontract agreements three days later, according to federal court records.

Tetra Tech sued Herling and Herling Construction later that month.

In November 2008, Wyoming Machinery sued Tetra Tech, Herling and Herling Construction for breach of contract.

Wyoming Machinery alleged Jerry Herling Construction breached its contract, and Tetra Tech had made promises to pay Wyoming Machinery and breached those promises.

The defendants denied those allegations or said they didn’t have enough information to respond.

Stubson said Tetra Tech Inc. later settled its claims, and Wyoming Machinery later dismissed it as a defendant.

In April 2010, Jerry Herling Construction Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which allows companies to operate as they restructure their business operations and arrange at least partial payment to creditors. The company later converted that bankruptcy filing to Chapter 7 liquidation.

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