Bus company sues Shelton for breach of contract, $200K

Photo of Brian Gioiele
A City of Shelton school bus parked in Shelton, Conn. June 7, 2018.

A City of Shelton school bus parked in Shelton, Conn. June 7, 2018.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — Durham School Services, the district’s former bus operator, is suing the city for some $200,000 for breach of contract.

The suit, filed March 16 in Milford Superior Court, charges the city and Board of Education with two counts of breach of contract and two counts of unjust enrichment. Durham School Services was the city’s bus operator through June 30, 2019, when the city took over the school district’s student bus transportation.

Durham School Services, in the suit, states that it spent $107,947.10 to make major repairs to the buses, which are owned by the city. The suit further states that the operating agreement, signed Aug. 28, 2018, between the parties obligates Shelton to pay or reimburse Durham for certain major repairs.

“Despite demand, Shelton has refused and neglected to pay Durham as required by the operating agreement,” the suit states.

Mayor Mark Lauretti said the city held back payments because Durham “did not perform necessary maintenance,” and the city was forced to perform the repairs.

“We spent money doing what they should have been doing,” said Lauretti.

Durham’s suit also charges that, as part of the operating agreement, the Board of Education owes the bus company $93,374.09, which it has also “refused or neglected” to pay. The suit states that Durham provided student transportation services through June 30, 2019, and is owed the money.

"As a result of work performed by Durham, the BOE has been unjustly enriched,” the suit states.

Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board has not been able to get regular updates regarding this lawsuit.

“We remain hopeful that this will be resolved in a manner that is fair and equitable to both sides,” said Yolish.

Durham School Services is a division of National Express LLC which, according to the company’s website, is the North American subsidiary of National Express Group PLC, a transportation firm in the United Kingdom.