City of Kamloops lawsuit seeks six figures from telecom giant
The City of Kamloops has launched a six-figure lawsuit against a large Manitoba utility company and a B.C.-based contractor for compensation after a water-main break last summer.
Court documents obtained by KTW show the city is suing MTS Inc. and Dixon Networks Corporation for nearly $120,000 — claiming the companies were “negligent” in their work in the Tournament Capital last June.
According to the documents, MTS — a Winnipeg-based communications company — was installing fibre-optic cables near the campus of Thompson Rivers University in 2011, having hired Dixon Networks to dig trenches and install equipment.
“In order to install the fibre-optic cable, MTS Inc. required authorization from the City of Kamloops to conduct works within the city’s road right-of-way between Hillside Drive and McGill Road,” the documents read.
The city’s statement of claim, filed in B.C. Supreme Court last week, indicates MTS was granted authorization after submitting plans and drawings to municipal staff.
The documents state the city granted a permit to Dixon Networks, on behalf of MTS, on June 8, 2011.
“MTS Inc., as the general contractor, knew or ought to have known the terms and conditions of the permit,” the documents read.
“The permit specifically provided that it was the responsibility of the applicant to verify the location of all utilities prior to commencing any excavation.”
According to the documents, city staff met with MTS and Dixon Networks for “a pre-construction meeting” prior to any work being done, once again going over the permit’s requirements.
“Contrary to the terms of the permit, Dixon Networks, with the knowledge and consent of MTS Inc., commenced horizontal drilling rather than trench excavation along Summit Drive,” the documents read.
On June 10, 2011, the documents state, Dixon Networks crews struck and ruptured a municipal water main — something the city contends wouldn’t have happened if the terms of the work permit had been followed.
“As a result of the aforesaid damage to the city’s water main, the city has incurred costs to repair the damage caused by the defendants totalling $116,672.12,” the statement of claim reads.
“The defendants breached their duty of care to the City of Kamloops and were thereby negligent in failing to conduct the works in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit.”
The city also claims MTS and Dixon Networks violated the terms of their permit by conducting horizontal drilling as opposed to trenching, failing to locate and verify locations of municipal water mains and “failing to take reasonable care to protect the city’s property from loss or damage.”
Dixon Networks, headquartered in Delta, bills itself as “a leading provider” of broadband-network engineering and maintenance in Western Canada.
Based in Winnipeg, MTS — Manitoba Telecom Services, formerly Manitoba Telephone System — employs 7,000 people and is the fourth-largest telecommunications company in Canada.
MTS holds the naming rights to MTS Centre, the home of the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets.
In addition to the $116,672.12 in repair costs, the City of Kamloops is also seeking interest and legal costs in its statement of claim.
MTS and Dixon Networks have yet to file responses to the City of Kamloops’ statement of claim. They have 21 days to respond, beginning with service of the city’s documents.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.