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$________ Breach of contract - Cost of renovation project increases drastically prior to start of construction - Defendant architect allegedly retains inappropriate construction manager.

Pitts County, PA

In this breach of contract case the plaintiff, a dentist, contended that the defendant architect breached a contract to renovate a building for the plaintiff. The defendant architects claimed that they were not negligent and that the construction manager was responsible for any breach of contract.

The plaintiff dentist purchased a building with the intent to renovate it to house his dental practice. The plaintiff hired the defendant architects who gave an estimate for their services and brought in a construction manager who gave another estimate for the renovation work. Before any construction occurred, the price for the renovation went from $________ to $________. The plaintiff contended that the defendant was negligent in bringing in the construction manager on too small a project; one that did not require a construction manager. The plaintiff also contended that the defendants failed to perform certain actions required in the contract, such as getting the plaintiff’s approval for changes, conducting the bidding process, providing project schedules, and budgeting per the provisions of the contract, which led to ballooning costs and the ultimate failure of the project.

The defendants completed the drawings without input from the plaintiff client. The plaintiff also asserted that the defendants padded the budget. The plaintiff ultimately cancelled the project and sold the building without renovating it. The plaintiff claimed damages, such as an excavated elevator shaft as shown on the drawings that the plaintiff never saw or approved, that caused a diminution in the value of the building. When the plaintiff terminated construction, he was sued by the construction company and he lost the suit and had to pay the construction company. The plaintiff also sought recovery of those monies.

At trial, the construction manager testified that the project did not require a construction manager because it was not complex or large enough a project to need a manager. The plaintiff’s expert architect testified that the defendants were negligent and should have been overseeing the project. The plaintiff’s expert asserted that the defendants had a responsibility to get approval from the plaintiff before authorizing any work and that the defendants failed to stay within the budget, though they had an obligation to do so.

The defendants denied any liability whatsoever. The defendants argued that the construction manager was responsible for most of the things that the plaintiff complained about. The defendants also put forth that aspects of the project changed from what was originally discussed and that was why the costs went up.

The jury found the defendant architects negligent, but found that the defendants’ negligence did not cause the plaintiff’s damages. However, the jury did find that the defendants breached the contract and awarded damages of $________.

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