Dalton Construction, LLC v. Wieland-Davco Corporation

Deutsch Kerrigan represented a general contractor in a contract dispute with a earthwork subcontractor.  The subcontractor filed for arbitration in accordance with the contract provisions and filed a lien that was not reflective of the amount in dispute.  The same contract contained a provision allowing the prevailing party to recover its attorney’s fees and other costs associated with the arbitration.  Given the amount in dispute, the arbitration was heard as a fast tract proceeding with one day of testimony.  The dispute centered around whether or not the earthwork subcontractor could recover its costs to repair a water line and other underground utilities encountered in the work area that were shown on the plans and marked by the Louisiana One Call office.  The general contractor refused to pay for the costs to repair the utilities damaged by the subcontractor.  Additionally, the general contractor refused to release disputed money to the subcontractor when the suppliers and other sub-subcontractors working for the earthwork subcontractor complained of the lack of payment and refused to execute lien waivers in order to receive the payments.  The subcontractor alleged prompt payment statutory violations given these withheld payments.  After hearing the testimony of four witnesses (two per side), the arbitrator issued an award dismissing all of the subcontractor’s claims.   The arbitrator specifically found that the subcontractor failed to protect the underground utilities even though they were shown on the plans and marked in the field.  The arbitrator further found that the general contractor was the prevailing party awarding it the recovery of attorney’s fees, the arbitration filing expenses, the arbitrator’s fee and the premium paid to bond off the lien.  Keith Bergeron represented the general contractor throughout the dispute and participated at the hearing.  Peter Castaing assisted with the pre-and post-hearing briefing.