On June 2, 2021, an arbitrator found in favor of a firm client seeking to recover its outstanding contract balance the project owner failed to pay.  Following a four-day arbitration, Christopher LeMieux and Robert Riess with Riess LeMieux obtained a judgment awarding the firm client over $500,000, including its entire outstanding contract balance, attorney’s fees, expert fees, and AAA expenses. The owner’s counterclaim against the firm client for defective design and construction totaled more than $1,200,000, but the arbitrator allowed only a credit of $8,250 in the owner’s favor.

The dispute involved the renovation of a car dealership in the metro New Orleans area.  The firm client served as design-builder for the project.  Despite the owner occupying the project and selling cars as of the date scheduled substantial completion, the owner refused to execute a certificate of substantial completion and make final payment.  The firm client attempted to resolve the dispute centering around an alleged design error by providing multiple solutions to the complaint at no-cost to the owner.  Nevertheless, the owner refused to pay the remainder of the contract balance or negotiate the final amount despite the work being fully performed.  The firm client was ultimately forced to lien the property and initiate arbitration with the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”).  In response, the owner filed a counterclaim of approximately $1,200,000 inclusive of attorney’s fees, cost, and interest.

Following a four-day evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator found that the owner’s revolving list of alleged defective work and design had no merit.  The arbitrator determined that the owner breached the contract by failing to pay the firm client for its work once the project timely reached substantial completion.  As a result, the firm client was awarded more than $500,000, comprised of its remaining contract balance, attorney’s fees, expert fees, and AAA fees.  The owner’s counterclaim of more than $1,200,000 was dismissed, save a credit for $8,250.

Riess LeMieux is proud to have litigated the dispute all the way through arbitration to secure the correct result for their client.