After Investigation, City Will Not Pursue Legal Action on Turf Field

City officials said they will not pursue legal action for the replacement of the turf field at Highland Park, this coming after the Record received information that the field was one of thousands installed with defective materials nationwide.

City Solicitor Cheryl Fisher Watson said they haven’t had many complaints about the turf field until recently, and were not able to locate any warranties that would give them grounds to negotiate replacement.

“We did a lot of research and found that the turf was installed in 2011 and our contractor at the time has confirmed it was FieldTurf,” she said. “Our problem in Chelsea is the statute of limitations has run out since the installment and we have not been able to lay our hands on any warranties. The City did have the responsibility to maintain the field.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they did complete a thorough investigation of their options, but found that they learned of the issue too late.

“The City Solicitor’s Office has completed what I consider a fairly thorough investigation of this issue,” he said. “The bottom line conclusion is that the Statute of Limitations has long since expired on any claims the City might have. Further, the field is getting close to the end of its natural life. Accordingly, even if we could pursue a claim, which we don’t believe we could, it would be hard for the City to distinguish between defective materials and natural wear and tear. For these reasons, we are not pursuing any legal action.”

Late last year, the Record learned through a source that the Chelsea field and several others in Boston were installed with defective materials. The materials had been provided to FieldTurf by a third party, and once it was learned by the company that the materials were defective, they began to manufacture them in-house. However, many fields nationwide had been installed prior to the revelation with the defective materials. Few, however, knew of the problem in the Boston area until last fall.

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