Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chatman Electric, Inc. v. Interior Systems

May 15, 2006

CHATMAN ELECTRIC, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
INTERIOR SYSTEMS, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND MEMORANDUM OPINION

Introduction

This case arises out of a contract dispute between plaintiff, Chatman Electric, Inc. ("CEI"), and defendant, Interior Systems, Inc. ("ISI"). CEI, a Maryland corporation with its principal place of business in Virginia, sued ISI, a District of Columbia corporation with its principal place of business in Virginia, for breach of contract arising out of two construction projects. Both the Reeves project, located at 14th and U Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. and the Department of Employment Services ("DOES") project, located at 609 H Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. are buildings owned by the government of the District of Columbia.

ISI hired CEI to perform power and conduit work on both projects. CEI claims that it performed the work but was not fully paid. CEI seeks $99,905 for the Reeves project and $11,900 for the DOES project, for a total in damages of $111,805 plus interest. ISI claims that it has paid in full for the services CEI provided.

FINDINGS OF FACT: DOES PROJECT

The Contract

1. On August 26, 2002, ADT Security Services, Inc. ("ADT") contracted with ISI to have work performed on the DOES project for $58,350. Tr. 1*fn1 at 71 (testimony of Mel Pulley, Director of Communications for ISI); Joint Exhibit ("JEX") 4.

2. ISI then prepared a Budget/Project Authorization ("B/PA")*fn2 for the DOES project. ISI then sought a quote from CEI. Tr. 1 at 70 (testimony of Pulley); JEX 6.

3. On September 24, 2002, CEI submitted a proposal to ISI for power and conduit*fn3 work on the DOES project. JEX 6 at 1. CEI proposed completing the work for the price of $29,900, due within fifteen days from the date of the completion of the job.*fn4 Id. There was no written subcontract agreement between ISI and CEI on the DOES project, just an oral agreement. Tr. 1 at 73 (testimony of Pulley).

The Dispute

4. On October 24, 2002, CEI invoiced ISI for the work done on the DOES project. JEX 6 at 2.

5. According to Chatman, although the invoice charged $29,900, following ISI's request that the bill be reduced, a statement was inserted at the bottom of the invoice indicating that if ISI paid $10,000 by October 25, 2002 and $10,000 by November 1, 2002, CEI would reduce the total amount due to $20,000. JEX 6 at 2; Tr. 1 at 60 (testimony of Chatman). Chatman also indicated that the original price of the contract was approximately $50,000. Tr. 1 at 60 (testimony of Chatman).

6. Pulley, however, claimed that he asked Chatman to split the work on the DOES project because two of CEI's technicians had finished their work on a different project and CEI needed to keep them working. Tr. 1 at 71 (testimony of Pulley). According to the B/PA prepared by Pulley, CEI was to perform $18,350 worth of work on the DOES project while CEI was to the perform $18,598 worth of work. DEX 22. This agreement was never memorialized in writing but remained a "verbal gentleman's agreement." Tr. 1 at 77 (testimony of Pulley).

7. While the DOES project was ongoing, Pulley asked Chatman to pull an electrical permit for him in relation to another job. Tr. 1 at 61 (testimony of Chatman). Chatman agreed to do so and told Pulley that it would cost $2,000. Id. (testimony of Chatman). The price of the permit itself was $100. Id. Chatman stated that the remainder of the $2,000 bill was for time spent retrieving the permit. Id. (testimony of Chatman).

8. On November 6, 2002, ISI paid CEI $2,000. JEX 13; Tr. 1 at 100 (testimony of Pulley). Pulley explained however that the additional $2,000 check was partially in payment for the permit Chatman had obtained and partially in payment for the work that had been done on the DOES project. Tr. 1 at 99-100 (testimony of Pulley); Tr. 2 at 23-24 (testimony of Yeoman).

9. On January 8, 2003, ISI paid CEI $18,000. JEX 13.

10. I credit the testimony of Chatman and find that CEI agreed to perform the work on this project for $29,900 with the understanding that CEI would accept $20,000 ($10,000 by October 25, 2002 and $10,000 by November 1, 2002) with the difference being a discount for prompt payment.

11. I find that ISI paid $18,000 in January, 2003 and did not therefore earn the discounts for prompt payment.

12. I find that a $2,000 payment by ISI to CEI was for pulling the permit and should not be credited against the amount due.

13. I therefore find that CEI is due $11,900.

14. I discredit the testimony that there was an independent gentlemen's agreement to pay an amount less than the $29,900 proposed by CEI.

FINDINGS OF FACT: REEVES PROJECT

The Contract

15. In the fall of 2002, the government of the District of Columbia contracted with ISI to perform work on the Reeves Center. Tr. 1 at 78-79 (testimony of Pulley); JEX 21. The total price of the contract between the District and ISI was $387,000. JEX 21.

16. On July 1, 2002, CEI submitted a proposal to ISI for conduit and wiring work at the Reeves building. JEX 1. Chatman personally prepared the proposal based on the bid drawings provided to CEI by ISI. Tr. 1 at 14 (testimony of Chatman). ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.