Recently, the Twelfth District Court of Appeals issued a decision that upheld summary judgment against a property owner that sued a contractor for work to clean and restore water damage. In Brock v. Servpro
, the property owner hired a contractor to clean and restore water damage from a flooded basement. Throughout the repairs, the property owner kept finding issues to complain about, such as his washing machine’s waterline being broken, a door being knocked off a hinge, a new sump pump being knocked over, cable connecting to an outside pole being broken, and the contractor leaving a pile of wood behind. However, the contractor gave the property owner a discount for inconvenience, and these “issues” were either all remediated or were nonexistent.
Nevertheless, the property owner said he would not pay the contractor for the work and filed suit. The Magistrate granted summary judgment in favor of the contractor. The Twelfth District Court of Appeals upheld the decision finding that the plaintiff failed to prove any damages because annoyance and irritation did not constitute damages in a breach of contract action. This case is a prime example that no matter how a breach of a contract occurs or what type of story you can tell, you must have actionable damages before your claim will get anywhere near a trier of fact. A copy of the decision can be found here