Florida Record

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Subcontractor ordered to pay over $200K to MWH Constructors in contract case

By Charmaine Little | May 15, 2018

| ICS Media Database

WEST PALM BEACH — An electrical subcontractor has to pay a company more than $200,000 after it was found in breach of a contract by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, according to a May 4 opinion.

MWH Constructors Inc. sued Brown and Brown Electric Inc. for breach of contract and contractual indemnification, and B&B filed a breach of contract counterclaim.

B&B and MWH had partnered after Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department hired MWH to complete a project for $13.8 million. MWH then hired B&B as its electrician via a subcontract for $1.4 million.

MWH found B&B was in default of the contract after it was unable to complete the work in the agreed-upon timeframe and sent B&B a notice to inform the company that it was behind schedule, according to information in the ruling. MWH then hired a second electrical company, Curry Controls Co. to finish the work B&B could not. Curry Controls completed the remaining work.

The District Court stated B&B did keep the terms of its subcontract agreement with MWH. The court pointed out details agreed upon in the subcontract were enough to prove B&B breached the contract and said it should have given MWH proper notice if it could not comply with the terms of the subcontract. B&B did not provide any proof it notified MWH that it could not reach the terms of the subcontract, the ruling notes. Considering this, the court stated, “B&B waived any right it may have to enforce its legitimate contractual right” and MWH was “entitled” to submit the notice of default.

Although B&B made claims that MWH breached the subcontract when it failed to pay B&B, the District Court stated MWH was right to not provide payments since B&B violated the subcontract.

The District Court also found B&B liable for the breach of contract because it did not indemnify MWH “for its damages, losses, costs and expenses arising from B&B’s failure to timely perform its work,” according to the opinion.

The court also concluded B&B still owes MWH $289,267.53 after calculating the amount B&B paid the new subcontractor, Curry Controls, including a 15 percent markup, as well as the amount MWH paid B&B’s lower-tier subcontractors and suppliers.

The court denied B&B’s counterclaim.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida West Palm Beach Division