EMCO Metalworks, Inc. v. Schaefges Brothers, Inc.

CASE NUMBER : 08 L 11104
TRIAL DATES : 11.4.10 - 11.12.10
JUDGE : Susan McDunn


Emco Claim for Breach of Contract: NG

Schaefges Counterclaim for Tortious Interference with Contract: NG

Schaefges Counterclaim for Breach of Contract: Guilty - Award Below

Gross Amount : $1, 141,534.96

Itemization (If Made):

Damages Paid to SubContractors: 166,146.78
Retainage Lost on Emco Escalation Payment: - 0 –
Bond Claim Payments to CNA: 343,927.13
Payments to Site Design: - 0 –
Expert Witness Fees to Wiss Janey Elstner: 12,290.00
Attorneys Fees/Costs to Shipley Law Group: 125,541.05
Lost Overhead and Profit: 343,000
Loss of Future Business: 75,000
Damage to Reputation: 75,000

PLTF. LAW FIRM (Representing Emco) :

DiNatale Law Offices
2501 DesPlaines Ave.
North Riverside, IL 60546

Trial atty(s): Michael DiNatale

DEFT. LAW FIRM (Representing Schaefges Brothers, Inc.) :

Shipley Law Group, Ltd.
120 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2100

Chicago, Illinois 60602

Trial atty(s): Robert A. Shipley

Facts of Case:

The dispute in this case arose from the development of the Stearns Quarry Park by the Chicago Park District. The park, consisting of 27 Acres, is located at 27TH and Halsted and was originally a limestone quarry and then landfill before it was developed into a park. The Chicago Park District solicited bids and after several rounds of bidding Schaefges Brothers, Inc. bid was accepted and the contract awarded.

The lawsuit is an action for an alleged breach of contract arising from the April 5, 2006, Sub-Contract Agreement executed between Emco and Schaefges Brothers, Inc.. Pursuant to the sub-contract Emco was to provide metal work for the Stearns Quarry Park. Emco's Verified Complaint sought unspecified damages in excess of $150.000. Schaefges Brothers, Inc. filed a Verified counterclaim seeking its own damages arising from Emco’s breach of the sub- contract, alleging both breach of contract and tortious interference with contract, after Schaefges Brothers contract was terminated in 2008 by the Chicago Park District due to Emco's continued failure to perform its scope of work.

Prior to trial, pursuant to motion brought on behalf of Schaefges Brothers, Inc., Emco's claim for damages for lost overhead and lost profits were barred. Emco's claim was limited to materials purchased for the project for which Schaefges allegedly did not pay. The jury found that Emco had failed to prove that Schaefges breached the contract by failing to pay Emco for materials purchased for the project.

The Jury found that Emco breached the sub-contract and awarded the damages to Schaefges on its counterclaim, the damages representing Schaefges Brothers out of pocket costs, expenses and payments, in addition to loss of business and loss of reputation.

Defense Contended:

On Emco’s Complaint:

Schaefges denied it failed to pay for the materials and provided proof that it had previously paid Emco for the same materials.

On Schaefges Counterclaim:

Emco denied it failed to perform its scope of work and claimed the project plans and drawings, along with RFI responses from the project architect did not provide it with sufficient information. Emco never provided any examples nor expert testimony to support its claims.

Other noteworthy features :

Prior to trial Schaefges had made a bottom line settlement demand of $650,000 for the claims asserted on the Counterclaim. During trial Emco offered $275,000.

Schaefges made no offer to Emco for Emco's claimed damages of $29,800 for alleged unpaid material.