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Breach of Construction Contract in Georgia

Poole Huffman, LLC

In a recent Georgia appellate case, a contractor appealed after there was a final judgment in favor of the plaintiff restaurateur in connection with her breach of contract and negligent construction claims. The restaurateur sued the contractor for damages related to work he performed during construction of a patio and sunroom that were to be added onto the plaintiff’s restaurant.

The plaintiff had planned these additions to a Mexican restaurant owned by herself and her spouse. Her niece had found the contractor in an online search and phoned him. Two weeks after meeting with the plaintiff, the plaintiff and defendant signed two construction contracts, one for the sunroom and one for the patio. The plaintiff gave the defendant a deposit, but didn’t hear from him for up to 7 weeks afterward. A building permit wasn’t secured until more than 2 weeks after the start of construction and after the contractor was supposed to complete the patio.

The plaintiff claimed that after looking at photos of his work, the defendant told her that the sunroom would match with the current structure. She wound up dissatisfied with his work, claiming he’d used warped wood and hadn’t installed support for pavers, which resulted in puddles. She had other concerns and asked the defendant and his subcontractor to rebuild the patio, but they refused. Even though he installed a flat roof instead of what she thought he would install, she didn’t ask him to stop or write down her concerns.

Later, she did ask him to stop working on the project. It was 10 weeks after construction was supposed to be finished, and the patio and the sunroom still weren’t functional for serving customers. She hired a new contractor who completed the work, and also removed certain doors, the roof, and stucco, and replaced them.

The defendant denied that the plaintiff asked for a gabled roof, and said that when he told her the price she didn’t want to pay it. He also testified that the work had eventually passed inspection, even if the inspector had needed him to make specific changes.

Later, the defendant’s subcontractor testified nobody had complained to him or tried to get him to stop working. When he was asked to leave, he was 98% finished. Only cosmetic work was left. He acknowledged that he’d built a flat room, and the adjacent original structure had gables.

The lower court found for the plaintiff against the defendant in the amount of $38,084.08, but didn’t find fraud and didn’t award punitive damages. The defendant moved for a more definite order under OCGA § 9-11-52 (c), but before the court could rule, he appealed.

The appellate court found that the lower court ignored the plaintiff’s failure to give a written objection to his work, as required by the parties’ contracts. It instead permitted him to continue working on the room that the plaintiff didn’t want. The proper question is whether there was any evidence to support the judgment. The appellate court found that there was evidence to support the judgment as to breach of contract.

Whether you are a plaintiff seeking to pursue a Georgia commercial litigation case, or a defendant seeking to defend (or perhaps avoid entirely) a case, you need skilled Georgia litigation counsel to help you pursue your desired result. The experienced Atlanta contract litigation attorneys at Poole Huffman, LLC have many years of experience effectively handling a wide variety of commercial disputes. Contact our attorneys online or by calling 404-373-4008 to schedule your confidential consultation.

More blog posts:

Confirmation Letters – Avoiding Potential Conflict Regarding Agreement Terms, Atlanta Business Litigation Attorneys Blog, April 5, 2016

Facing Jurisdictional Issues in a Breach of Contract Case in Georgia, Atlanta Business Litigation Attorneys Blog, July 16, 2018

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