The planned expansion of the University of South Dakota’s Muenster University Center could be derailed by a lawsuit filed last week against the university’s hired architect.
Charles Rose Architects of Somerville, Mass., who originally designed the MUC, filed a lawsuit against RSArchitects, a company based in Sioux Falls, S.D., that created the designs for the 30,000-square-foot addition that was scheduled to break ground this summer.
The lawsuit alleges RSArchitects copied elements of Rose’s technical drawings.
In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of South Dakota, Rose has asked a jury to find RSArchitects guilty of using the template in violation of federal copyright law. The Massachusetts company is seeking damages, as well as any money paid to RSArchitects for design work on the addition. The lawsuit also asks for a permanent injunction that would stop the university from moving forward with the project.
USD spokesperson Phil Carter said the university can’t comment on pending
The MUC expansion was to include more than 1,200 additional seats in an expanded dining area and national food chain options, including Qdoba, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chick-fil-A.
The only progress made thus far on the expansion is some black fences marking off the construction zones.
“The black fences are pretty ugly,” junior Alyssa Marquardt said. “It’s kind of disappointing the expansion hasn’t started.”
In a separate lawsuit, Charles Rose Architects claims the university owes Rose $100,000 for its work on Beacom School of Business in 2009, and $337,000 for its work on the MUC in 2009.
Michael Luce of Sioux Falls-based Murphy, Goldammer & Pendergast, LLP is representing USD in that lawsuit. Luce said the next step for the case is that it will go through the typical stages of discovery and figure out who owes whom money.
Messages left for Steven Johnson of Sioux Falls-based Johnson, Heidepriem & Abdallah, LLP were not returned Tuesday. Johnson is representing Rose.