Preserving Error In Bench Trial – Contract – Piercing Corporate Veil

Childs and Granger Construction v. Pommer; Pommer v. Granger, [Ms. 1190525; 1190580, Sept. 3, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Wise, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Bryan, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Shaw, Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur in the result) affirms in part and reverses in part the Baldwin Circuit Court’s judgment entered after a bench trial awarding damages and attorney fees to the Pommers in a dispute involving the construction of a garage on their property in Fairhope. The Court affirms the judgment for compensatory damages as to Defendant Granger Construction Company LLC (Granger Construction ). The Court concludes that none of the various issues presented by Granger Construction were properly preserved. Citing Weeks v. Herlong, 951 So. 2d 670, 676-77 (Ala. 2006), the Court notes that although it filed a JML at the close of all the evidence, that motion did not assert any of the issues Granger Construction argued on appeal. Ms. **24-26. For similar reasons, the Court affirms the attorney-fee award against Granger Construction. The Court explains, “counsel for Granger Construction ... did not file a postjudgment motion challenging the award of attorneys’ fees. Therefore, this issue is not properly preserved for our review and will not support a reversal of the attorney-fee award against Granger Construction.” Ms. *29.

The Court reverses the judgment against Paul Childs because “[i]t is undisputed that Childs was not a signatory on the contract, that Childs was not named in the contract, and that Childs was not an owner or a member of Granger Construction.” Ms. *20.

Finally, on the cross appeal filed by the Pommers, the Court affirms the circuit court’s order declining to pierce the corporate veil of Granger Construction and holds

The evidence presented at trial would support a finding by the trial court that Granger did not ignore the corporate form of Granger Construction and that the company was not run as an instrumentality of or as the alter ego of Granger. Additionally, the evidence presented would also support a finding by the trial court that the Pommers did not establish fraud in asserting the corporate existence and did not establish that the recognition of the corporate existence, under the facts of this case, would result in an injustice or inequitable consequences. Therefore, the trial court’s denial of the Pommers’ request to pierce the corporate veil of Granger Construction was not plainly and palpably wrong.

Ms. *46.

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