HOUMA, LA. — A federal lawsuit that claims Lockport-based Bollinger Shipyards made false statements about the structural strength of the U.S. Coast Guard cutters it was hired to modify is bound for court again.
The claim was initially dismissed by U.S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance of New Orleans, but that order has been appealed by the U.S. Department of Justice. Though an appeal notice was filed, attorneys for the U.S. government have not elaborated on their grounds for appeal.
The Courier reports Bollinger officials declined to comment on the appeal.
The complaint stems from a government contract awarded to Bollinger to renovate 49 patrol boats extending their length from 110 feet to 123 feet.
The lawsuit alleges Bollinger misrepresented hull strength calculations before the boats were converted, according to the original suit filed in 2011.
Eight of the boats were taken out of service when repairs failed, prompting a Coast Guard investigation.
Vance found there was no apparent attempt by Bollinger to mislead the government. She also ruled that because the Coast Guard accepted and continued to pay for the cutters, the agency couldn’t sue under the False Claims Act.