11th Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds a Contract Litigation Win for a Business That Was Not Paid as Prescribed in Its Agreement

Poole Huffman, LLC

After you’ve signed your commercial contract and you’ve done the work your contract prescribed, you expect to be paid what you’re owed under that agreement. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen, which may necessitate bringing a breach of contract lawsuit. An experienced Atlanta breach of contract lawyer can help you to get everything you owed in your contract breach action if litigation eventually proves necessary.

Achieving full success in this kind of case often means acquiring and presenting to the court a variety of forms of proof.

Take, for example, this breach of contract case from the federal court system. The case involved two corporations that signed a written contract in which one party, the service provider business, agreed to complete certain repair work on property owned by the other party. The agreement also came with a cost estimate of $86,000, “subject to a 10% increase.”

After finishing the work, however, the provider invoiced the client corporation for nearly $167,000. The client paid only $111,000 of the total owed. With $55,000 still outstanding two years later, the provider sued.

The provider’s case was that the client breached the agreement by failing to pay the full amount. The client argued that the provider was the party who breached because it invoiced far more than the amount stated in the cost estimate. While, on the surface, the client might have seemed to have had a winning argument, the factual evidence the provider successfully amassed and presented demonstrated that it was entitled to the total amount it invoiced.

For one thing. the parties agreed to a modification that increased the cost estimate by $12,000, meaning that the provider was entitled to charge up to 110% of $98,000, or $107,800. The proof presented in the case showed that the provider complied with this obligation, invoicing only $106,800 for items within the cost estimate. The remaining $60,000 was for items that fell outside the cost estimate.

The provider “presented various cost options for ‘drive coupling'” work on a nine-page document. All of those “iterations of the contract contained [the provider’s] standard terms and conditions on the back side of [the] work-order page, titled ‘service contract.’” None of that drive coupling work fell within the scope of the work covered by the $86,000 estimate.

The provider had evidence that the $12,000 sum covered oil pan modification work, which the client knew about and had, in fact, already paid for. As for the drive coupling work, the provider had proof that showed that the client had orally instructed the provider to do the work, including selecting one of the options that had been laid out in the nine-page document.

Furthermore, it presented evidence from its engineer, who testified that the client “representative who was present throughout the repairs approved and did not object to any of [the] work as being outside the parties’ agreement.”

In sum, all of that proof was enough to secure a court judgment that said that, although the client “signed only the engine-replacement cost estimate, [the] other work was part of the parties’ agreement because it was necessary to reach the parties’ express goal” of a total repair.

This provider had the evidence it needed to win its breach of contract case and get what it was owed. To make sure that your business is similarly well-equipped to achieve success in a breach of contract action, count on the experienced Atlanta contract litigation attorneys at Poole Huffman, LLC to provide the effective legal representation you need. Contact our attorneys online or by calling 404-373-4008 to schedule your confidential consultation.

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