Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 2, 2023
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//May 2, 2023//
Where a general contractor failed to pay for building materials, the general contractor and its personal guarantor were liable for the cost of the materials, pre-judgment interest, attorney’s fees and costs and post-judgment interest.
L&W Supply Corporation furnishes building materials to contractor customers to use on various public and private commercial and residential projects. In this lawsuit, it alleges that it provided construction materials to Driven Construction Inc. on credit, for which L&W has not been paid. It sued Driven and Jeff Lunsford, as personal guarantor.
On Dec. 28, 2022, plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment against Driven. Plaintiff seeks to recover a total judgment amount of $152,150.22, which includes damages in the principal amount of $136,207.96, plus $9,276.59 in pre-judgment monthly service charges through Dec. 28, 2022, $6,665.67 in attorney’s fees, costs and expenses and post-judgment interest at the rate of six percent per annum.
The well-pled facts in the complaint establish that defendant executed a valid and enforceable credit application agreement with plaintiff, failed to fulfill their obligations under the agreement and caused damage to plaintiff as a result of their breach.
Furthermore, all the default judgment factors favor relief. First, the amount of money involved is certainly not nominal, but it is unlikely to “shock the conscience if it were entered by default judgment,” especially given that the amount requested is largely predicted by the plain text of the agreement plaintiff entered into with defendant. Second, this matter is ultimately a private contractual dispute and does not appear to involve material issues of fact or issues of substantial public importance.
Third, default here is a result of defendant’s complete abandonment of their obligations under the agreement with plaintiff and is not the result of a mere technically, such as missing a deadline by a few days. Fourth, plaintiff has been significantly prejudiced by the delay involved, having had to navigate defendant’s breach since 2022 without any relief. Fifth, the grounds for default here are clearly established by the factual and procedural history.
Sixth, while the damages that would result from a default judgment in this case are significant, the effect of the judgment is not harsh considering: (1) the damages amount is largely predicted by the plain text of the agreement and (2) plaintiff incurred significant losses as a result of defendant’s failure to fulfill its contractual obligations. Finally, there is no indication that a good-faith mistake or excusable neglect caused defendant’s default.
Plaintiff’s request for $136,207.96 in damages is supported by a declaration of account explains the costs plaintiff incurred for the materials it furnished to Driven for which payment was never received. The declaration includes an invoice statement listing the goods and materials that L&W provided to Driven. Thus, the court finds that plaintiff is entitled to damages from Driven for the sum certain amount of $136,207.96.
The court finds it appropriate to award pre-judgment interest in this case in the total amount of $9,276.59. Plaintiffs motion for attorney’s fees and costs will be granted for the total amount of $6,665.67, which includes $6,010.00 in legal fees and $665.67 in related costs and expenses. Finally the court finds that plaintiff is entitled to post-judgment interest, calculated in the manner set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a).
Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment granted.
L&W Supply Corporation v. Driven Construction Inc., Case No. 2:22-cv-437, April 12, 2023. EDVA at Norfolk (Jackson). VLW 023-3-202. 13 pp.