from the Iowa District Court for Dickinson County, David A.
Construction, LLC appeals the judgment entered following
trial on the parties' breach-of-contract claims.
Kersten, Fort Dodge, and Jerry L. Schnurr III of Schnurr Law
Firm, P.C., Fort Dodge, for appellant.
Richard Meyer of Fillenwarth & Fillenwarth, Estherville,
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Mullins, JJ.
Construction, LLC (Woodruff) appeals the district court order
entering judgment in favor of Steven P. Christensen and
Christensen Construction Company (Christensen) on its
breach-of-contract counterclaim. Woodruff challenges the
district court's finding that Woodruff breached its
contract with Christensen. Woodruff also challenges the
court's damage award.
Industries contracted with Christensen to construct an
addition onto its manufacturing plant in Spirit Lake.
Christensen subcontracted with Woodruff to complete a portion
of the work. The parties signed a written agreement that
states Woodruff was to complete a counterfort
by no later than December 2, 2013, and a retaining wall by no
later than December 19. Woodruff did not complete work on the
counterfort wall until January 20, and it never completed the
August 2015, Woodruff filed a petition claiming Christensen
breached the contract by failing to pay for the completed
work. In May 2016, Christensen filed an amended answer and
counterclaim alleging Woodruff was negligent and that it
breached the contract in failing to complete construction
properly and timely pursuant to the plans and specifications.
A two-day bench trial was held in January and February 2017.
The matter was deemed submitted for final ruling after
briefing was completed in March 2017. In January 2018, the
district court entered a written ruling finding that both
parties had breached the contract. The court determined the
amount of Woodruff's damages to be $84, 132.86 and the
amount of Christensen's damages to be $78, 813.
appeal, Woodruff contends there is insufficient evidence to
support a finding that it breached its contract with
Christensen. To succeed on a claim of breach of contract, a
party must show:
(1) the existence of a contract; (2) the terms and conditions
of the contract; (3) that it has performed all the terms and
conditions required under the contract; (4) the
defendant's breach of the contract in some particular
way; and (5) that plaintiff has suffered damages as a result
of the breach.
Iowa Arboretum, Inc. v. Iowa 4-H Found., 886 N.W.2d
695, 706 (Iowa 2016) (citation omitted). Because this action
was tried at law, our review is for correction of errors at
law. See Iowa R. App. P. 6.907. We are bound by the
district court's fact findings if supported by
substantial evidence. See Iowa R. App. P.
district court found each party had proved the first four
elements of a breach-of-contract claim. With regard to
Woodruff's claim, the court found that Woodruff completed
construction of the counterfort wall, "albeit late and
not according to the specifications set forth in the
contract." It noted that Christensen and Polaris had
accepted Woodruff's work because the addition was
completed, and therefore, it concluded that Christensen's
refusal to pay for the completed work constituted a breach of
the contract. With regard to Christensen's counterclaim,
the court found that Woodruff "did not come close to
meeting" the deadline for completing the counterfort
wall specified in the contract and never constructed the
retaining wall. It further observed that
Woodruff did not comply with the specifications set forth in
the contract including the type of forms used, the length of
each section of wall that was poured, the providing of a
rebar free area and a voidin the forms, and putting trash and
debris from their work into a dumpster at the site. All of
the foregoing, the court concludes, ...