BUCK STEEL, INC.
FROM CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, ORLEANS PARISH NO. 2012-10894,
DIVISION "I-14" Honorable Piper D. Griffin, Judge
C. Clement Leslie J. Hill CLEMENT GATES & MAY COUNSEL FOR
E. Davillier Charles F. Zimmer, II DAVILLIER LAW GROUP
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.
composed of Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Madeleine M.
Landrieu, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano
L. DYSART, JUDGE
matter arises from a contractual dispute between ETI, Inc.
("ETI") and Buck Steel, Inc. ("Buck
Steel"). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
November, 2011, the State of Louisiana entered into a
contract with ETI for the latter to serve as the general
contractor for the construction of an addition to the central
plant at the University of New Orleans North Campus
("the Project"). ETI then subcontracted with Buck
Steel for certain tasks related to the construction of a
metal building system required for the Project. Included
among these tasks was the preparation of engineered stamped
issues arose over the drawings prepared by Buck Steel, ETI
terminated its contract with Buck Steel and filed a Petition
against it on November 23, 2012, alleging the following
facts. According to ETI, it provided Buck Steel with a copy
of the plans, specifications and addenda for the Project on
February 1, 2012. Buck Steel then submitted a quote for the
metal building system on February 2, 2012, which ETI accepted
on February 3, 2012. Thereafter, ETI instructed Buck Steel to
prepare the "submittals necessary to obtain the approval
of …[the] Metal Building System by the Engineer and
Architect of record for the project." ETI issued a
payment to Buck Steel in the amount of $17, 500.00 on
February 22, 2012.
March 9, 2012, Buck Steel issued a submittal to the
Project's architect, who rejected it for the reason that
"the submittal and shop drawings failed to comply with
the plans and specifications for the Project." The
architect provided "extensive notes" for Buck Steel
to use in order to revise its submittal.
4, 2012, ETI issued another payment to Buck Steel in the
amount of $28, 129.00 and, on June 18, 2012, Buck Steel
issued its second submittal to the Project's architect.
This submittal was again rejected "for the same reason
that the first submittal was rejected."
lawsuit, ETI alleged that, because of Buck Steel's
failure to properly and timely prepare the necessary
submittals, there was a delay in the Project and ETI incurred
delay damages. ETI further alleged that it had to obtain the
metal building system from another vendor. ETI sought the
return of the funds paid to Buck Steel, in addition to
damages, including delay damages, costs and other equitable
of a First Amended and Supplemental Petition, filed on May 2,
2014, ETI amended its original petition so as to specify the
damages it sought, as follows:
- Return of the two payments ($17.500.00 and $28, 129.00)
- Increased contract amount of $21, 155.32 which ETI incurred
in "hir[ing] an alternate contractor to prepare the
necessary submittals and provide the metal building that Buck
Steel failed to provide"
- Unusable Boes Iron Works mezzanine steel valued at $25,
- Delay damages of $70, 800.00
- ETI's additional overhead of $141, 012.00
- Payments to "Bonding Company Administrator" of
- Payments to "the paymaster for the bonding
company" of $6, 000.00
- Olympic Group price increase of $7, 060.00
September 12, 2014, Buck Steel filed a Reconventional Demand
against ETI in which it alleged that ETI breached the
contract with it when it "unilaterally rescinded…
and canceled the Sales Contract on or before August 16,
2012." Buck Steel sought liquidated damages pursuant to
the sales contract in the amount of 33% "of the entire
contract, " collection costs, attorney's fees and
other costs and fees.
matter proceeded to trial from May 4 - 6, 2015, and by
judgment dated November 3, 2015, the trial court awarded ETI
damages of $46, 194.32 (on the basis that ETI "carried
its burden of proving a breach of contract). The judgment also
found that Buck Steel, "a vendor under Louisiana law, is
allowed to bring its breach of contract claim, BUT that the
Court finds no breach of the Sales Contract in
question." The Court also concluded that Buck Steel
"is entitled to retain the $45, 629 in deposits paid by
ETI, Inc." The judgment then stated that ETI was
"entitled to the difference of the two amounts or a
total of $565.32 in damages."
November 12, 2015, ETI filed a Motion for New Trial on the
basis that the trial court's November 3, 2015 judgment
was inconsistent with the Reasons for Judgment and because
the judgment contained a mathematical error with respect to
awarding ETI the difference between the sums awarded to ETI
and Buck Steel. After a hearing on the motion held on
January 8, 2016, the trial court issued a judgment on March
7, 2016. The judgment denied ETI's motion for new trial
but corrected its prior judgment so as to read as follows:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that ETI, Inc.
carried its burden of proving a breach of contract action on
the part of Buck Steel AND is entitled to damages in the
amount of $46, 194.32. Under the evidence presented, Buck
Steel is ...