FROM THE FOURTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 2015-1335 HONORABLE SHARON DARVILLE WILSON,
D. Cop Kaster & Cop, LLC COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE
Direct Tech Drilling, LLC
Richard Mary, Richard Mary and Associates COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLANT: Danrik Construction, Inc.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R.
Cooks and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.
R. COOKS, JUDGE.
Construction, Inc. entered into an agreement with Bellsouth
in December of 2012 to install approximately 27, 000 feet of
cable. This endeavor involved laying cable and innerduct
underneath the Calcasieu River, which necessitated boring
under the river to lay a polyvinyl pipe through which the
cable and innerduct would be fitted.
one unsuccessful attempt with a different subcontractor,
Danrik subcontracted with Direct Tech Drilling, LLC, to
install pipe for the purpose of running communications cable
across the Calcasieu River. The original quote for the job
was $23, 000.00. However, after beginning the project, Direct
Tech determined it would have to use a more expensive process
to complete the job. Thus, the parties agreed that Direct
Tech was to receive $46, 000.00 as the contract price. These
facts were undisputed.
Tech eventually bored and placed a pipe under the Calcasieu
River. This process occurred on August 22 and 23, 2014. The
pipe installed was not purchased by Direct Tech, but was
provided to them by Danrik. Direct Tech did not
"proof" the pipe to determine if the pipe was open
and could be used to run cable under the river. Danrik eventually
determined that cable could not be pulled through the pipe;
thus, the pipe, after installation, was unusable for its
attempted to resolve the matter themselves, trying to blow
air and water through the pipe to clear any possible
obstruction. These attempts were unsuccessful. They also
attempted to drill another bore on two occasions. During
these attempts, Danrik also contacted K-Jon Sewer and Septic
to clear the pipe. Using a waterjet and ordering hose to
insert into the pipe, K-Jon was partially able to clear the
pipe. However, testimony established the diameter within the
cleared portion of the pipe was only sufficient to get the
cable through, but would not fit the innerduct.
acknowledged despite the fact the pipe would only be able to
accommodate the cable and not the innerduct, it was paid in
full by Bellsouth. Rick Judice, one of the owners of Danrik,
testified they likely "were going to get caught with
that one day." Because of the fact the pipe was not
usable after Direct Tech finished laying it, Danrik refused
to pay the invoice it received from Direct Tech. In response,
Direct Tech proceeded to file a Materialman's Lien
against Danrik and notice letters were sent to all parties,
putting them on notice of Direct Tech's claim.
suit was filed by Direct Tech, Danrik filed a reconventional
demand claiming it had incurred expenses in order to make the
pipe usable. Direct Tech claimed this was the first time it
was given notice or had knowledge of such a claim by Danrik.
matter came to trial on June 27, 2016. After trial, judgment
was rendered in favor of Direct Tech and against Danrik in
the amount of $46, 000.00, the full amount of the contract.
In its oral reasons for judgment, the trial court focused on
the fact that the pipe eventually was able to be used by
Danrik and that Danrik was paid in full by Bellsouth. The
trial court stated, because there was no specific provision
in the contract requiring Direct Tech to proof the pipe,
Danrik "can't hold them responsible for something
the parties never agreed to, that there never was a meeting
of the minds." Attorney fees were also awarded to Direct
Tech in the amount of $6, 500.00 and $350.00 was awarded for
the cost of filing suit and recording the lien. The trial
court denied Direct Tech's request for penalties, finding
Danrik had "genuine concerns, and they thought that was
a valid defense to paying, " thus their actions were not
malicious. The trial court denied Danrik's reconventional
demand against Direct Tech. A motion for new trial was filed
by Danrik and denied.
appeal followed, wherein Danrik asserts the following issues