Arlington school district reaches settlement on artificial turf lawsuit

06/27/2014 4:21 PM

06/27/2014 4:25 PM

Arlington school district officials reached a settlement on a million dollar lawsuit against the company that invented grasslike artificial turf.

Earlier this month, the district filed a lawsuit in a Tarrant County district court against FieldTurf USA Inc., and FieldTurf Tarkett USA Holdings, Inc. for artificial turf installed in 2007 at Sam Houston High School’s Wilemon Field and Lamar High School’s Cravens Field.

The lawsuit for over a $1 million stated the “XM-60” artificial grass fields the company supplied “proved to be defective and failed” as early as 2010, which the company “admitted in writing” yet “failed and refused to repair...,” the suit stated.

School trustees voted 6-0 late Thursday to move forward with a settlement agreement where FieldTurf would have to replace the two fields with high-grade “Revolution” fields.

Trustee John Hibbs was absent, and district officials declined to comment citing a no disclosure agreement as a part of the settlement.

“There is a confidentiality agreement that we cannot say anything,” school district attorney Heather Castillo said.

“This is a settlement between FieldTurf and Arlington that we cannot comment on at any point, said Darren Gill, global marketing vice president for FieldTurf.

The company invented a type of artificial grass-like turf with three layers of silica sand and rubber between the fibers to provide “softness on impact.”

According to the settlement agreement obtained by the Star-Telegram through open records, the district will pay $280,000 for the replacement of the current fields and installation of top-of-the-line products.

“Subject to timely execution of this agreement and receipt of all necessary approvals by the approvals deadline...FieldTurf shall achieve substantial completion of the Revolution Fields by August 1, 2014,” the settlement states.

The district previously paid $1.5 million for the installation of the old fields. Value of the new fields could not be determined based on information on the company’s website. Officials with the company, because of the confidentiality agreement, also would not talk.

Along with the fields the district is set to receive an eight year warranty on each, and two years of free maintenance, according to the settlement.

According to FieldTurf’s website, maintenance is about $5,000 a year.

The work will begin as soon as the district sends the artificial turf company results of a test done on its existing “base stone” that serves as a drain between the turf and dirt. The test was to be completed by Friday to confirm its performance and functionality.

The district’s attorney could not comment on the results of the test.

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