ONE BLUFF DRIVE, LLC et al.
K. A. P., INC
Contract. Chatham Superior Court. Before Judge Fuller, Senior Judge.
McCorkle & Johnson, Mathew M. McCoy, Catherine M. Bolger, Tawny D. Mack, for appellants.
Weiner, Shearouse, Weitz, Greenberg & Shawe, George P. Milmine II, Malcolm M. Mackenzie III, for appellee.
BRANCH, Judge. Barnes, P. J., and Boggs, J., concur.
A jury returned an award of $400,000 to a contractor on its claims against certain homeowners for failure to pay the contractor in full for a major house renovation; the jury also awarded $112,221 of attorney fees for bad faith, stubborn litigiousness or causing the contractor unnecessary trouble and expense. Following the denial of the homeowners' motion for new trial, the homeowners appeal. The homeowners do not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. Instead, they contend the trial court erred by charging the jury on quantum meruit and by denying their two motions that attempted to limit the contractor's possible damages. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.
On appeal following a jury verdict and judgment, this Court " must construe the evidence with every inference and presumption in favor of upholding the verdict, and after judgment, the evidence must be construed to uphold the verdict even where the evidence is in conflict." Harris v. Tutt, 306 Ga.App. 377, 378 (1) (702 S.E.2d 707) (2010) (citation and punctuation omitted).
So construed, the evidence presented at trial relevant to the claims on appeal shows that in 2006, K. A. P., Inc. (" KAP" ), a general contractor, through its owner/president, John
Kicklighter, entered into an agreement with One Bluff Drive, LLC and its sole member, Kenneth R. Hardigan, to supervise the construction of improvements to the bottom floor of Hardigan's residence located at 1 Bluff Drive in Savannah. After KAP commenced work, Hardigan fired the architect, hired a replacement, and significantly revised the scope of the project, including adding the second floor to the scope. In response, KAP prepared a two-page, " Main Summary Base Bid" showing a $1,092,943 estimated cost to complete the project as of September 5, 2007; the detail supporting documents were attached thereto.
The Base Bid document is a table of values for the different aspects of the project; it does not contain any contractual provisions or a projected completion date. It was an estimate based on information that was limited at the time because Hardigan had changed architects and the second architect had yet to prepare specifications [330 Ga.App. 46] or a schedule for completion. KAP presented the Base Bid to Hardigan that evening, and the parties added a " contingency" of $107,057 to bring the total estimate to $1.2 million; it was understood, however, that any changes to the scope of the project reflected in the Base Bid would change the cost of the project. Thus, Kicklighter testified, the project was to be billed on a time and materials basis. In meetings with representatives of KAP, Hardigan acknowledged that he understood the nature of the Base Bid. The Base Bid also reflects that KAP chose not to charge for any overhead or profit; Kicklighter testified that he did so because of his friendship with Hardigan and because the two had worked together on several other projects. The following day, KAP delivered a letter to Hardigan that referenced their ...