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Small Drywall Subcontractor vs. A National Development Company

Gwinnett Jury Verdict for Plaintiffs - Plaintiff recover from Defendants, jointly and severally, the sum of $194,999.39; plus the sum of $24,752.63 in attorney fees and costs of litigation.

TOTAL JURY VERDICT $219,752.02 plus 12% interest until paid.

[Parties not listed pursuant to Settlement Agreement]

Stone & Bellus, P.C.'s represented a small drywall subcontractor, against a national development company seeking payment for labor and materials supplied for the Condominiums located on Peachtree Street.


In March 1999, Subcontractor met with the General Contractor to discuss a bid to provide and install drywall for the Buckhead Project ("Buckhead Project"). In conjunction with the discussions, General Contractor was aware of a shortage of drywall in the Atlanta Metropolitan area, and told Subcontractor if it would use good faith efforts to supply the drywall, it would be awarded the drywall portion of the job.

Subcontractor was able to locate and procure drywall from various suppliers including a Nebraska supplier. Subsequently, Subcontractor's bid was proposed and accepted by General Contractor. General Contractor requested that Subcontractor begin the job immediately, without a signed contract.

On or about March 15, 1999, after acceptance of the bid, Subcontractor manned the Buckhead Project and thereby consummated the contract by commencing performance. On or about May 18, 1999, after substantial work had been completed on the job, Subcontractor was requested to sign a Subcontract by General Contractor that differed substantially from the original terms of the agreement, as confirmed and accepted by partial performance. Subcontractor protested the differing terms. However, Subcontractor was told that no payment would be made without a signed contract even for the already completed work.

Because Subcontractor had already incurred substantial debts for the work already performed, Subcontractor executed the subcontract under duress. The defendants breached their agreement with Subcontractor by failing to provide payment. General Contractor failed to provide the first payment for work on the project until nearly 60 days after the pay request was turned in by Subcontractor.

Despite extreme delays prior to payment, Subcontractor remained on the Buckhead Project until approximately ninety percent (90%) of the job was complete. However, in June 1999, as a direct and proximate result of Defendants' failure to make timely payments and other breaches of the agreement, Defendant magnified their breaches by terminating their agreement with Subcontractor. At that time, Subcontractor had expended in excess of $142,000 in labor and materials and received only $67,865.27 from General Contractor. General Contractor also refused to pay for the materials and the work supplied to date.

General Contractor had also contracted with Subcontractor for work at Building 800. Subcontractor has not received any payment whatsoever for work at Building 800.

Defendants' Position

General Contractor contended that Subcontractor was behind schedule and as such additional labor and material were brought in to complete the project. General Contractor counterclaimed for the alleged additional costs incurred for completion and for bonding of the lien.


After a four-day trial, based upon the evidence adduced at trial, the jury found that the defendants had subjected our client to "illegal duress" and had improperly terminated Subcontractor's contract. As a result, the jury awarded substantial damages against the defendants. Furthermore, the jury found that the defendants had been stubbornly litigious or had caused Five Star unnecessary trouble and expense. Therefore, Subcontractor was also awarded its attorney fees and costs of litigation.

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