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General Contractor Wins Wrongful Termination Case

Lewis & Roberts Wins Wrongful Termination Case For General Contractor

Matt Bouchard and Ben Buskirk emerged on the winning side of a two-week arbitration hearing involving one of the firm’s general contractor clients in a dispute arising from a contract for the construction of an eight-story, mixed-use, multi-family facility in downtown Raleigh. 

The July 2017 arbitration hearing primarily concerned whether the general contractor was wrongfully terminated from the project, which had been severely delayed by impacts the client argued were beyond its control.  Those impacts included the owner’s failure to provide the client with a complete, constructible design for the project; failure to relocate pre-existing overhead utilities; and failure to replace timely the initial project architect, who was terminated by the owner less than 120 days into the client’s performance of its contract.  For its part, the owner argued that the general contractor was to blame for the project’s delays, and sought recovery of over $5 million from the client and its performance bond surety. 

Matt and Ben presented their case using trial presentation software that allowed their witnesses to provide testimony while seamlessly referring to dozens of project pictures and documents projected on an overhead screen.  They also relied upon the testimony of a CPM scheduling expert and a structural engineering expert who each provided crucial testimony on key factual issues in dispute.  At the close of the evidentiary hearings, Matt and Ben prepared a 20-page Closing Brief that succinctly summarized two weeks’ worth of evidence and compellingly framed their client’s case for the tripartite panel.  The Arbitration Award that was issued a month later validated the client’s version of events, dismissed the owner’s claims against the client and its surety with prejudice, concluded that the owner had breached the construction contract, and ordered a second phase of arbitration to liquidate the client’s damages.  Phase II of the proceeding is currently pending.