Austin Law Firm Wins Damages and Fees in Hays County Jury Trial

“This experience has renewed our belief in our judicial system.” – KB Concrete Construction

Cain & Skarnulis PLLC recently won a complete plaintiff’s verdict for its client, KB Concrete Construction. The jury returned a unanimous verdict, awarding more in damages than KB actually sought, and awarding all attorney’s fees.

C&S partner Steve Skarnulis tried the case, joined by associate Chris von der Gruen.

The case, KB Concrete Construction, Inc. v. Young was tried in Judge Bill Henry’s court in San Marcos, Hays County, Texas, and lasted one week. The jury deliberated only two hours before returning the verdict on August 4, 2017.

The case was filed by KB in response to a demand for $150,000 by Young, who alleged construction defects in a slab poured by KB. However, Young’s own engineer acknowledged that the foundation was performing adequately. KB initially filed the suit over nonpayment by Young as a preventive measure.

C&S pushed the case–No. 15-0675 in the 22nd Judicial District Court of Hays County, Texas–through complex discovery and motion practice, successfully obtaining several important pretrial rulings, including summary judgment on Young’s construction defect claims. But, when settlement was not possible KB elected to take the case to trial.

At trial, C&S lawyers elicited testimony on cross examination from Young’s own expert that the foundation was satisfactory for use in residential construction. Ultimately, the jury unanimously found breach of contract by nonpayment and unjust enrichment, and awarded KB damages in excess of the price of the foundation, $26,901. Significantly, the jury also awarded $90,000 in attorney’s fees, more than three times the amount of damages.

Steve Skarnulis said it was an important win: “This was the smallest case on my docket, but it was maybe the most important. KB is a true “mom and pop” family business. Faced with an unreasonable demand, they held their ground, taking a small claim all the way to a jury and winning.”

KB agreed that the case was very important, and in an email post-trial Kenneth and Karen Balthrop wrote: “We were impressed with your legal knowledge, organizational skills, your presentation of the material, and your demeanor…

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