Mechanical Contractor Defeats Claim of Fabricator and Recovers $1 Million

The Project involved the installation of a new paper machine and accompanying construction in New York. All of the pipe for the project was provided by an independent fabricator.  During the construction, the owner made numerous design changes.  The fabricator cited these changes as the reason that its pipe was late.

The fabricator filed suit against the mechanical contractor for non-payment pursuant to the original contract and for a violation of the Builder’s Trust Fund Act.  A scheduling expert was utilized to compare the changes made by the owner with the fabrication and delivery dates.  It was revealed that the fabricator had used the design changes as an excuse for its late deliveries.  The challenge was to present this data in a way that the jury could understand.

Numerous graphs and other visual aids demonstrated that the design changes happened long before the fabricator’s deliveries were due. At trial, the fabricator claimed more than $5 million in damages against the mechanical contractor.  However, the jury denied the fabricator’s claims and awarded $1 million plus attorneys’ fees to the mechanical installer.

Marcus R. Sanborn was one of the attorneys representing the mechanical contractor and was substantially involved in the litigation including two trials and an appeal.

Source: Michigan Lawyers Weekly, July 9, 2012