Tolar Construction v. Kean Electric Company

944 So.2d 138 (2006)

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Tolar Construction v. Kean Electric Company

Alabama Supreme Court
944 So.2d 138 (2006)

  • Written by Lauren Petersen, JD

Facts

Tolar Construction (Tolar) (defendant) hired Kean Electric Company (Kean) (plaintiff) to perform the electrical work for an elementary school renovation. Under the contract, the electrical work was required to be completed by January 18, 2001, and Kean would receive $230,000 upon its completion. During the renovation, the elementary school’s roof had to be reinstalled, delaying Kean’s work for more than a month. Tolar’s general manager became impatient with Kean when it missed the January 18 deadline, and work continued into April. Tolar ordered Kean to complete work by May 14. When Kean failed to do so, Tolar ordered Kean to cease work. Tolar paid Kean just $3,000 for Kean’s work. Kean sued Tolar for breach of contract, and Tolar counterclaimed. At trial, Kean presented evidence of the contractual price the parties had agreed to for Kean’s services. Additionally, Kean presented evidence of how much money it would have paid subcontractors had Kean been permitted to complete the work. A jury found in favor of Kean, awarding it compensatory damages of $89,000. Tolar moved for a new trial, but the trial court denied Tolar’s motion and entered final judgment in favor of Kean. Tolar appealed. On appeal, Tolar argued that the damages award was excessive because the jury failed to consider the payments Tolar made to subcontractors in order to complete the electrical work that Kean was forced to leave unfinished.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harwood, J.)

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