Attorneys announce settlement over conditions at Springfield’s courthouse
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - We’ve shown you pictures of mold, sewage, and falling ceiling tiles inside the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield. Now, we get details of the settlement reached between the Massachusetts Trial Court and courthouse employees who sued over unsafe working conditions.
The settlement outlines multiple conditions that the trial court will be required to complete by the end of the summer and a feasibility study will be conducted to learn if a new courthouse will need to be built.
On Tuesday, deliberations that lasted for months finally came to a close. The attorneys representing the employees suing the trial court for unsafe working conditions at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse announced a settlement has been reached.
“We are thrilled to announce this settlement, on the eve of trial, achieve all the major goals when this lawsuit was filed,” said Attorney Jeff Morneau, co-counsel representing the employees and plaintiffs in the case.
Over the past few months, employees who work inside the courthouse have been sharing photos with Western Mass News of stained ceiling tiles, mold growing on evidence and walls, exposed fiber glass, and so much more.
According to attorneys, all of these problems are addressed in the settlement. It outlines that the trial court needs to:
Conduct weekly air sampling tests and provide those results to employees.
Replace the roof, moldy carpet, and water stained ceiling tiles.
An outside vendor will install air supply diffuser filters on all ventilation systems, along with installing additional HEPA filters in the building.
“We demanded a safe place for people to work and to conduct courthouse business. We demanded comprehensive and extensive detailed mold, fiberglass, PCB, and other testing,” Morneau added.
On top of that, the trial court will hire a third-party vendor to conduct mold remediation and remove all fiberglass from the fan coil units.
They will also train their maintenance staff on how to keep the building clean and mold free.
Heading into the weekend of July 4, all employees will be removed from the building, from Thursday until Tuesday for most of this remediation to be completed. That way, employees will remain safe from exposure.
“These repairs they’ve agreed to do, in the time frame they’ve agreed to do them, will at the end of the day make this building safe,” Morneau explained.
Most of these remediation steps will be completed by Labor Day. However, employees will continue to work inside the building as the settlement does not include moving courthouse functions into another building.
As for whether the trial court will build a new courthouse, a feasibility study needs to be conducted before next summer to decide that.
“We’re optimistic once that is done and people sit down at a table with the information, that they will make the right decision, which at the end of the day is to put a new courthouse here in Hampden County,” Morneau noted.
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more information as it becomes available.
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