Jordan Price Attorney Successfully Prosecutes Claim against Homeowners Alleging Fraud, Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices and Punitive Damages
Brian Edlin of Jordan Price recently obtained a unanimous jury verdict in Chatham County Superior Court against homeowners who had asserted various counterclaims against a contractor including fraud, unfair and deceptive trade practices and punitive damages.
The case arose out of a cost plus project that initially started as a gazebo and retaining wall project and morphed into substantial improvements to the homeowners’ property, including the labor and materials necessary for various water features, an arbor, an elevator shaft, and the labor for preparation and placement of a large cabana, among other improvements to the defendant’s property. When the homeowners refused to pay the contractor the contractor removed himself from the project and removed his license from the permit issued by Chatham County for the work. The contractor filed a lien against the property and sued in Wake County Superior Court for breach of contract, unjust enrichment and conversion of certain tools the contractor contended the homeowners’ kept and refused to allow the contractor obtain after he left the project. The case was subsequently transferred to Chatham County and the homeowners asserted various counterclaims against the contractor.
Among other claims, the homeowners alleged claims of fraud in the contractor’s billing practices and unfair and deceptive trade practices and punitive damages. The homeowners also contended there were various deficiencies in the contractor’s work and claimed damages against the contractor for such alleged defective work. The homeowners also alleged the contractor had committed an assault against one of the homeowners. The homeowners’ fraud and unfair and deceptive trade practices claims were dismissed on summary judgment. The homeowners’ assault and punitive damages claims were dismissed on directed verdict and did not reach the jury. Thus, the only counterclaims submitted to the jury were the issues of the cost to complete or repair the contractor’s work after he left the jobsite for non-payment.
The case was tried for four (4) days in Pittsboro and the jury deliberated for several hours. After deliberation, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict in favor of the contractor on both its claims unpaid work and the conversion of its tools. The jury awarded nothing on the homeowners’ counterclaims.