FROM THE GARLAND COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 26CV-14-884],
HONORABLE MARCIA R. HEARNSBERGER, JUDGE
Ragon Owen, P.A., Little Rock, by: Roger H. Fitzgibbon, Jr.,
Westerfield, Hot Springs National Park, for appellee.
Appellant Moorefield Construction, Inc., appeals the judgment
entered against it and in favor of appellee R.L. Hurst
Concrete Construction, Inc., a/k/a R.L. Hurst for $14,596.67.
Hurst had filed a breach-of-contract complaint against
Moorefield contending that Moorefield failed to pay the full
contract price on the concrete parking-lot repair job that
Hurst completed. The circuit court found, after a bench
trial, that Hurst completed the contracted work, that a
subsequently signed amendment to the contract that reduced
the contract price was not supported by consideration, and
that Hurst was granted judgment for the outstanding
$14,596.67 plus court costs and a reasonable attorneys fee.
Moorefield contends that the circuit courts findings in the
November 19, 2018 judgment are clearly
erroneous. We disagree and affirm.
order to prove a breach-of-contract claim, one must prove
"the existence of an agreement, breach of the agreement,
and resulting damages." Barnes v. Wagoner, 2019
Ark.App. 174, 573 S.W.3d 594. There is no dispute that in May
2013, Moorefield and Hurst entered into a written contract
for Hurst to repair paved areas on the exterior of a Wal-Mart
store, specifically to address cracking in the concrete, for
which Moorefield would pay $58,000. The "scope of
work" was described as Hursts completing "all
barricade, removal of concrete, doweling of concrete and
placement of concrete" in "strict accordance with
the contract documents" and the photographs attached as
exhibits to the contract. The contract required Hurst to
complete "all work indicated or implied on the
drawings." Hurst promptly started the job and finished
it in mid-June. Moorefield had made substantial payments on
the $58,000 contract price, and Moorefield was satisfied with
Hursts work, but thousands of dollars remained unpaid. Hurst
sent Moorefield an invoice for the outstanding balance.
about July 1, 2013, Moorefield determined that not all the
originally identified concrete needed to be removed and
repaired, so it wanted to pay a proportionately lower
contract price. Moorefield offered Hurst a $10,000 check as
payment in full, which was $14,596.67 less than the original
outstanding balance due. Hurst believed that all the work
encompassed by the contract had been done. Moorefield,
however, presented Hurst an "Amendment to
Subcontract" that stated that the 9000 square feet of
concrete work in the original contract was actually 6735
square feet, so based on a per-square-foot price, the
contract price was now $43,403.33. This reduced the $58,000
original contract by $14,596.67. According to Mr. Hurst, he
signed the amendment under duress that day because Hurst
needed the $10,000 payment immediately to continue operating
the business. Moorefield made no further payments.
December 2014, Hurst filed the breach-of-contract action
contending that it had satisfactorily completed the job
pursuant to the original contract, that it was owed the full
contract price, that the subsequent contract amendment was
not supported by consideration but was instead entered into
under duress, and that
Moorefield breached the original contract by not paying what
was owed. Moorefield answered the complaint with a general
denial of all allegations. In its pretrial brief, Moorefield
contended that "it was determined during the progress of
this work that not all of the originally identified concrete
would need to be removed and replaced" leading to the
preparation of a "Change Order" to reduce the
contract price based on the reduced scope of work Hurst was
required to perform. Moorefield asserted that Hurst consented
to and signed the "Change Order."
bench trial, Mr. Hurst testified that his initial bid on this
concrete-repair job was about $80,000, which he lowered to
$70,000, but the final agreed flat price was $58,000. Mr.
Hurst explained that in making a bid on the job, there are
"just many, many factors" to consider, such as the
transportation necessitated by the sixty miles this job was
from his place of business, the area of work to be done, and
the equipment and people required to do the work. Hurst said
that he completed the work exactly as the contract required,
that Wal-Mart and Moorefield accepted the work, and that
there was no "by-the-square-foot-of-concrete"
contract. Mr. Hurst said Moorefield owed approximately
$24,000 after the job was completed, and he sent Moorefield
an invoice in mid-June.
July 1, 2013, according to Mr. Hurst, Moorefield (through its
project manager, Josh Daves) offered Hurst a $10,000 check
but only if Hurst agreed that this would be payment in full.
According to Mr. Hurst, Daves required him to change his
invoice, sign a lien waiver, and amend the contract in order
to get the check. Mr. Hurst testified that he signed the
amendment that day under duress, "absolutely had to
have" the payment to keep his business going, and felt
he had no choice. Mr. Hurst stated that Daves came up with
the square-foot calculation, which was nowhere in the
original contract. Mr. ...