Streetlight manufacturer says it's in talks with Detroit about fix

The Detroit News
Lineman Allen Begley removes a burned out Leotek LED light panel before installing a new Cree brand LED light on Remington Street near Dequindre in a north-side Detroit neighborhood on June 6.

The company facing a federal lawsuit because of the failure of some of Detroit's streetlights installed only a few years ago said Monday that it is in talks with the city to resolve the issue.

Quinlan Tom, an attorney for the California-based manufacturer Leotek Electronics USA, said the company was in discussions with the Public Lighting Authority and it is hoping to reach a resolution to avoid litigation.

He said a court deadline to respond to the city’s lawsuit “has been addressed by the parties.”

"Leotek has abided by all applicable legal deadlines at this point," he said. Court records show the lawsuit was served to the manufacturer on May 8 and the company’s response was due on May 29.

The state-created Public Lighting Authority began replacing nearly a third of its LED streetlights last week after more than 20,000 lights were found to be prematurely dimming or failing. The state of the art overhaul of streetlights was a part of a push to spur upgrades in neighborhoods and sparked a lawsuit by the city in May that cited "charred, burned or cracked" lighting units.

The city said a fix is expected to cost millions and the problems with the lights jeopardize Detroit's revitalization efforts.