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Prejudgment Interest - Challenge To Sufficiency Of The Evidence - Bench Trial: Ballard V. Lee A. McWilliams Construction, Inc.

Ballard v. Lee A. McWilliams Construction, Inc., [Ms. 2160469, Feb. 2, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2018). This unanimous decision by Judge Thomas (Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur) affirms the Baldwin Circuit Court’s award following a bench trial of $25,953.75 to Lee McWilliams Construction on an oral contract to repair the defendant’s home. The court also reversed the Baldwin Circuit Court’s refusal to award prejudgment interest.

In regard to the prejudgment interest issue, the court held that notwithstanding that the construction company changed the amount it sought during the litigation as a result of its discovery of mathematical errors and other mistakes in its various invoices, the damages due the company were “certain or capable of being made certain” and therefore prejudgment interest was recoverable pursuant to § 8-8-8, Ala. Code 1975. Ms. *10.

On appeal, the homeowner challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court’s award of any damages to the construction company. The court did not reach the merits of the homeowner’s appeal because it noted that the Baldwin Circuit Court’s judgment contained no findings of fact. Ms. *5. As a consequence, in order to preserve a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence in the non-jury case, the homeowner was required to file a postjudgment motion raising that issue. Ms. *5, citing New Props., L.L.C. v. Stewart, 905 So. 2d 797, 801-02 (Ala. 2004).

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