Last week, a 12-person King County Superior Court jury unanimously rejected nearly all of an owner’s $16.7 million dollar defect and delay claims made against a general contractor defended by Ahlers Cressman & Sleight attorneys Scott Sleight, Brett Hill, and Ceslie Blass and their co-counsel from Gillaspy & Rhode, Nicholas Korst and John Gibson. In addition, the jury awarded ACS’s contractor client in excess of $5 million in disputed billings, which consisted of nearly $3 million in allowance billings, $2 million in lump sum billings, and $500,000 in extra work.
The trial resulted after a multi-year dispute spanning back to 2014 related to the construction of the Lake Hills development in Bellevue, after the owner refused to pay for the contractor’s work and asserted $12 million in defects, $1 million in completion costs/backcharges, and assessed $3 million in liquidated damages. Originally planned to span twelve weeks, ACS lawyers streamlined their presentation mid-trial and shortened the trial to just seven weeks.
Rejecting almost all of the owner’s claims, the jury awarded the contractor its disputed billings, in excess of $5.1 million, and just $1.4 million (of the over $12 million claimed) to the owner for defects. The jury found that the contractor was not the sole cause of the project delays, also rejecting nearly all of the liquidated damages claimed by the owner. The jury rejected the owner’s completion cost/backcharges claim outright.
ACS will pursue the contractor’s statutory right to recovery of its attorneys’ fees incurred as the prevailing party under the lien statute. We are proud of our Firm’s efforts in this matter and our client for taking this complicated matter through trial.