Construction Law Insights

Heard Constr., Inc. v. Waterfront Marine Constr. Co., 2018 Va. Cir. LEXIS 14 (Cir. Ct. City of Chesapeake Jan. 10, 2018)

Although the opinion only refers briefly to facts related to the case, it appears that the plaintiff sued the defendant regarding a lost bid for a project for the Navy. In their motion to set aside the jury verdict, Defendants contended that the only document produced by Plaintiff at trial showed an anticipated $887,150 in lost profits, and impermissibly considered overhead as profit. Plaintiffs replied that the jury’s direct damages award was reasonably calculated and fully supported by the evidence. Plaintiff had been able to produce a bid spreadsheet and detailed testimony through its president, in support of its claim. While such evidence is weak, the jury accepted it, and it was deemed sufficient to support such award. The court denied the Defendants’ motion in this respect.

Plaintiff had years to track lost business opportunities, as well as financial history, yet failed to present such evidence. Plaintiff’s expert testimony lacked sufficient particularity regarding the unique circumstances and the alleged losses suffered. Thus, the court granted the motion to set aside the consequential damages award.

Having received no authority in support of the argument that Plaintiff’s failure to allege subject matter jurisdiction is preclusive of recovery, the Court denied Defendants’ motion on to dismiss on this basis. The court then looked to 28 U.S.C. § 1491 and found that Plaintiff’s action contained state causes of action. The court therefore possessed concurrent jurisdiction over those state causes of action as they are reliant to an extent upon Federal law.

The court then determined that the jury had been presented with sufficient evidence of the Waterfront’s knowledge regarding Plaintiff’s contract expectancy, given that the witness testimony provided a sufficient basis to support the jury verdict award. The court further denied Defendant’s motion to set aside in this respect.

Finally, the court found that Plaintiff presented evidence, which had been accepted by the jury, that Defendants were well aware of their size change, yet persisted, exhibiting conscious disregard of Plaintiff’s rights. Accordingly, the court denied the motion to set aside the punitive damages that had been awarded.

PLDR Law Mark Burgin 1 PLDR Law Scott Kowalski 1 Wolf Tom v2 Stout Kenneth 2016

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