News & Thought Leadership from Sulloway & Hollis

August 14, 2020

No Relief for the Contractor that Failed to Build the Unity Elementary School

Sometimes you can win the battle, and still lose the war. That was the case recently when a contractor received a default order in its favor, but was awarded no damages when it could not draw the connection between its alleged damages and an actionable legal claim.

Earlier this year, Vaughn Associates was awarded a default order against Superior Walls of Hudson Valley, and then it asserted that Superior Walls was responsible, to the tune of $1.4 million dollars, for all the problems Vaughn experienced in Vaughn’s failed effort to build a new elementary school in Unity, NH. The problem is that, even armed with the default that meant the admission of every fact alleged by Vaughn, the Contractor still failed to allege that Superior Walls was responsible for any harms that befell Vaughn. The Court wrote that in order for Vaughn “to recover on a motion for default judgement” Vaughn “must state a legally valid claim for relief.” Vaughn simply could not draw a causal link between the damages it sought, and the things it alleges Superior Walls did wrong. Instead, the Court found the opposite to be true. Even assuming the truth of every fact alleged by Vaughn, Superior Walls did not play a role in Vaughn’s failure to complete the elementary school in Unity.

For more details on the long running saga of the Unity Elementary School, check out Unity Sch. Dist. v. Vaughn Assocs., Docket No. 15-CV-155-SM, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126949 (D.N.H. July 20, 2020).

If you have questions, please contact Sulloway Member, Bob Best at 603-223-2800.