Chesapeake sues over undelivered app [The Virginian-Pilot]
(Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 25--CHESAPEAKE -- When city officials hired a local software company in 2011 to develop a smartphone application, they hoped to use it to educate the public on what to do in the event of a disaster.
Not on the list of expected disasters: An app developer taking your $100,000 and giving you nothing in return.
Claiming breach of contract, the city filed a lawsuit last week in Circuit Court against A Serious Company Inc. of Chesapeake. The lawsuit seeks $100,372 in damages, plus interest and court costs.
A city spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Liza and Stephen Potts, respectively the CEO and vice president of development for A Serious Company, did not return phone calls and emails. Both currently work for MATRIX: The Center for Humane, Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., according to the organization's website.
On Jan. 31, the state terminated A Serious Company's corporation status for failing to file an annual report and not paying annual dues. On Friday, the company's website was down.
According to the lawsuit, the city invited software engineers in October 2011 to design and build "an interactive disaster preparation game" for the Hampton Roads Citizen Corps Council.
The program, which city officials referred to as a smartphone application, would be used to help residents know what to do in the event of a hurricane or serious winter storm.
"You don't want to put out a pamphlet and just hope you reach everyone," said Rob Braidwood, deputy coordinator of Emergency Services for Chesapeake, explaining why the council wanted the app.
In November 2011, A Serious Company submitted a bid to the city and signed a $112,000 contract. In the bid, the firm said Liza Potts, the former co-director of the Center for Media Experiences at Old Dominion University, was an expert in disaster communication.
Stephen Potts had more than 20 years of professional software engineering experience, the bid said.
Under the contract, A Serious Company was supposed to deliver a working app by March 1, 2012.
For the past year, city staff have tried to communicate with the company and find out what was wrong. Officials asked the company to either deliver the game or give them back their money, the lawsuit said.
On an infrequent basis, the lawsuit said, Stephen Potts would respond via email that they were having problems with "design, size and program delivery."
Scott Daugherty, 757-222-5221, firstname.lastname@example.org
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