General Contractor Liable to Subcontractor for Damages and Attorneys’ Fees for Failure to Fully Compensate Subcontractor for Work on Change Orders

Am. Envtl. Contractors, Inc. v. Garber Constr. Co., Inc., 2007 WL 4358169 (Mass. Super. Ct. Nov. 26, 2007)

The Superior Court heard a jury-waived trial in which the plaintiff subcontractor sought damages from the defendant general contractor after an unexpected roof collapse created the need for substantial extra work on the project.  The general contractor and the project manager executed several change orders for extra work after the collapse.  The subcontractor claimed that it was not compensated for the full amount of extra work by the general contractor.  The general contractor claimed it was owed the money by the project manager and filed a third-party complaint.

The court agreed that the project manager owed the disputed funds to the general contractor who in turn owed them to the subcontractor based on the change orders.  The court found for the plaintiff for the full amount including interest and attorneys’ fees.  On the third-party claim, the court found the project manager was liable to the general contractor for 21 percent of the damages pursuant to the contract.

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