West Mermis and its general contractor client recently prevailed in a week-long virtual arbitration. In the end, the arbitrator awarded the general contractor, who happened to be the defendant, a monetary award after the arbitrator applied the prevailing party attorneys’ fee provision. It was a resounding victory for the general contractor and a testament to the West Mermis trial team.
The general contractor builds luxury mid-rise apartments in Texas. Years following the completion of a Houston project, a subcontractor alleged the general contractor had failed to pay outstanding invoices. The general contractor hired Larry West and Francis McWilliams of West Mermis to defend it against those claims. The subcontractor sought a half million dollars from the general contractor and vigorously prosecuted its claims.
It is not every day a defendant walks away with money in its pocket.
Despite the long odds West Mermis tailored its defense to the subcontract’s strength. First, West Mermis proved the subcontractor materially breached the contract through substantial delays in violation of the contractual “time is of the essence” clause and by hiring an unapproved sub-subcontractor. West Mermis then proved the general contractor incurred significant damages because of the subcontractor’s delays. Finally, West Mermis successfully triggered the contractual attorney fees provision to enable the arbitrator to award the general contractor a net monetary recovery. It is not every day a defendant walks away with money in its pocket.
West Mermis wants to thank its client for having confidence in its legal skills and trial strategy. Had the client not had the guts to follow West Mermis’s pre-arbitration recommendations, victory would not have been possible.