Charleston , West Virginia
K-Mart Slope Stability Failure

The Project

A Self Development Discount Department Store located near Charleston , West Virginia .

The Site

The site of this project had original grades ranging from about 690 Feet MSL to about 650 Feet MSL. The finished floor elevation of 690 required about 40 feet of fill, primarily beneath and near one building corner. The deepest fills were required to fill in a natural ravine which had a steady discharge of spring water which flowed from the ravine into an adjacent wetland area.

The Problem

Near the end of construction, slope failures appeared in the embankment slope in the vicinity of the ravine. In addition, the building corner nearest the slide area experienced settlements of about 5 to 6 inches.

The Cause

The stability of the embankment slope was never determined during design. The geotechnical engineer of record was asked to address stability of the slopes during the final subsurface investigation, but excluded this responsibility from their contract in their proposal. The owner failed to renegotiate this responsibility with the geotechnical engineer or the project civil engineer. During construction, the geotechnical engineer allowed inadequate compaction to pass by applying an inappropriate Proctor to the field data.

The Resolution

This case was submitted to Mediation and the client general contractor obtained indemnification from their earth moving subcontractor. The subcontractor settled out of the case for $425,000 even though the Plaintiff owner had originally demanded over $2,000,.000 from the construction team. The design civil engineer settled out of the case for an undisclosed amount, and the geotechnical engineer and owner failed to achieve a settlement. Litigation is pending in that dispute

The Attorney Client

For the Defendant General Contractor and Insurer:

Mr. Derek Marsteller, Attorney At Law
Baker & Marsteller
Third Floor
River Towers
Huntington , West Virginia
(304) 522 6906


For additional information concerning this case, you may contact:

P. O. Box 130
Nicholasville , Kentucky 40340-0130


Copyright 2004 Richard Cheeks