An architectural firm claims a Connecticut bank is making unauthorized use of its design for a new administrative building.

New England Design Associates and its president, Charles Snell, sued Rockville Bank last month, midway through construction. The suit asks for monetary compensation and punitive damages.

The firm had already sent a letter to the $528 million-asset bank in early December asking that construction be suspended.

“It really surprised me,” said William J. McGurk, the bank’s president and chief executive officer. “We have used them in the past but had not had heard from them after we selected another company. Then I get this lawsuit, which has absolutely no merit.”

Mr. Snell did not return a reporter’s phone calls.

Mr. McGurk said his relationship with Mr. Snell goes back some 20 years. He said the firm had even used him as a reference.

The relationship between the firm and the bank also goes back several years, to when New England Design renovated one of the bank’s branch offices, Mr. McGurk said. The firm completed the renovation of a second Rockville Bank branch last summer, at about the same time he was looking for an architect for the administrative building, he said.

When the bank put that project up for bid, every architectural firm, including New England Design, was given the same parameters — a Williamsburg-style brick building that would fit in with the classic New England townscape — Mr. McGurk said.

“I have no idea why they are doing this,” he said. “Mr. Snell really shot himself in the foot with this lawsuit.”

Despite the suit, he said, he plans to complete the building in the spring.

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