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Sub Wins Default Damages from Contractor

A precast concrete subcontractor wins a default judgment against a general contractor on a business park project, who “has completely failed to participate in this litigation,” and the Charlottesville U.S. District Court awards the sub judgment of $108,187 on its claims for breach of contract and quantum meruit relief.

The grounds offered by the sub for entry of default judgment are clearly established, and the contractor’s failure to defend this action does not appear to be the result of excusable neglect or any good-faith mistake on its part. The grounds for the sub’s motion are not highly technical. Although the amount of money involved in this litigation is by no means inconsequential, it is certainly not so large as to be remarkable. Because of these factors, and in light of the contractor’s disregard of the sub’s claims, default judgment in favor of the sub is warranted.

In addition to its contract claim, the sub seeks damages for additional work it performed on the jobsite, the possible performance of which the parties clearly contemplated in the subcontract. The sub seeks damages for the additional work performed under a quantum meruit cause of action. The sub conferred a benefit on the contractor by performing extra work beyond the scope of the subcontract. This work could not have escaped the contractor’s knowledge, for its performance was undoubtedly obvious. Finally, it would be inequitable to permit the contractor to retain the benefits of the sub’s additional concrete erection work without requiring it to compensate the sub. Therefore, I find that under the theory of quantum meruit, the sub is entitled to the additional $50,987.11 it expended to complete its portion of the project.

I decline to award the sub attorney’s fees as it has offered no statutory basis for such an award.

EDI Precast LLC v. Mid-Atlantic Precast LLC (Moon) No. 3:12cv00012, June 20, 2012; USDC at Charlottesville, Va. VLW 012-3-260, 8 pp.

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