Utica City School District countersues Birnie Bus for more than $34 million

Utica City School District has filed a countersuit against Birnie Bus asking for more than $34 million in damages for performance shortfalls and breach of contract.

Posted: Sep 1, 2021 3:04 PM
Updated: Sep 1, 2021 3:24 PM

UTICA, N.Y. – Utica City School District has responded to the Birnie Bus lawsuit against them for breach of contract and nonpayment by filing a countersuit claiming the bus company actually owes them in excess of $34 million for damages incurred since 2016.

In July, Birnie Bus filed the suit claiming the district owed them $2.7 million for invoices from April, May and June of 2020, when the bus services were not used, but the company had to remain staffed and ready to work during the pandemic.

According to court documents filed in late August, UCSD’s first counterclaim accuses Birnie Bus of various contract violations, including route deviations, unsafe driving, delays in routes and failing to provide service.

The countersuit alleges Birnie did not meet its contractual obligations over the past four school years by:

  • Failing to pick up about 300 students per year
  • Picking up students late about 125 time per year
  • Dropping off students at the wrong locations about 20 times per year
  • Dropping off students late about 100 times per year

The counterclaim also alleges during the abbreviated 2021 school year from March to June, Birnie Bus failed to pick up 315 students, picked up 125 students late, dropped off 92 students late and dropped students off at the wrong location 19 times.

UCSD also accused Birnie of failing to return their calls 100 times and lying about having appropriate levels of staffing to meet contractual obligations.

The district is asking for more than $24 million in liquidated damages for these complaints.

In the second and third counterclaims, the district is asking for $5 million for the performance issues and another $5 million for what they’re calling “bad faith actions” during the 2020 – 2021 school year alone.

UCSD is asking that Birnie Bus’ original suit be dismissed, and that the district be awarded the more than $34 million sought in damages.

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