Use of Total Cost Method of Calculating Damages Fails to Prove Cause of Damages

Conom Alaska v. Bell Lavalin, Inc., 842 P.2d 148 (Alaska 1992)

In this case, when a dispute arose regarding the schedule for completing construction, the subcontractor sued the general contractor for professional negligence and breach of contract.  The trial court granted the contractor’s motion to dismiss the professional negligence claim because the subcontractor failed to adequately establish a basis for the jury to determine the amount of damages.  The subcontractor appealed.

The decision was affirmed.  The Supreme Court of Alaska held that the party seeking to prove damages carries the burden of proving causation and the amount.  The subcontractor’s method for calculating damages amounted to a “total cost” method, which the court has disapproved because the method fails to create a link between each specific delay and its related cost.

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