A Surry County jury awarded a Mocksville builder nearly double the damages sought in a contract dispute with a Mount Airy property owner last week in Superior Court.
Kevin Nunn, of Bear Creek Log Homes, had filed suit against a former client, Natalie Baro, of Doral, Florida., in November 2014.
In December 2012, Baro had contracted with Nunn for the building of a $600,000 log home on her Mountain Escapade Trail property but in May 2014, had “unjustly” terminated their contract, the complaint states.
Nunn had not been paid for labor, materials and general contracting services up and until this termination.
“Specifically, the plaintiff is owed the sum of $99,268.66,” according to the complaint, which also argued that “defendant has made no specific or legitimate claim for any deficiency in materials or defect in workmanship.”
The lawsuit asked the court to allow Nunn to recover this amount and that the property be sold to satisfy the plaintiff’s lien on the property.
Baro responded with a counterclaim in January 2015, alleging that the contract Nunn had submitted with his complaint was not a true and correct copy of said contract.
Denying Nunn’s allegations, the defendant also stated that she had terminated the contract with Nunn “as a direct result of the plaintiff’s material breach of contract and his failure to comply with the terms and conditions set forth.”
The defendant claimed to have paid for all the improvements Nunn made to her property and sued Nunn for breach of contract.
“Inspections were made on the completed work and numerous deficiencies were noted by the building inspector,” the counterclaim states. These May 2014 findings allegedly included the improper installation of electrical wiring, plumbing and exterior drainage systems.
“These deficiencies constituted a material breach of contract between the plaintiff and the defendant.”
“Subsequently, the plaintiff made the necessary corrections and the deficient items were cleared by the Inspections department. At this time, plaintiff notified the defendant that no further work would be done on the house until all outstanding invoices were paid in full.
Baro sought $300,000 plus attorney’s fees to cover what she paid other contractors to complete construction, the complaint states.
In his response to Baro’s counterclaim, Nunn denied the allegations.
“Specifically, no such inspection report was provided to plaintiff nor were any deficiencies (as provided in said paragraph five) brought to plaintiff’s attention…Plaintiff did properly oversee and supervise the subject construction and all work performed by plaintiff was done so in a workmanlike manner and consistent with the North Carolina Building Code Regulations.”
The response also alleged that any deficiencies found were the result of Baro’s contracting with contractors other than Nunn or work performed by others.
The trial, which was held during the September term of civil Superior Court with Judge Lindsay Davis presiding, lasted about a week.
Nunn was represented by Winston-Salem attorney Kirk Sanders.
Lee Merritt, of Mount Airy, represented the defense.
On Sept. 20, the jury returned a verdict finding unanimously that Baro had breached the contract and that Nunn was entitled to recover $180,540.
The jury also found that Nunn had not breached the contract.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.