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Case No. 18-1186

Olmstead Construction, Inc.
Otter Creek Investments, LLC


Olmstead Construction, Inc.


Otter Creek Investments, LLC

Attorney for the Appellee

Jeffrey A. Stone and Chad D. Brakhahn

Attorney for the Appellant

Dana L. Oxley and Kevin J. Caster

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
Date Published:
Sep 25, 2019

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Linn County, Kevin McKeever, Judge.  AFFIRMED IN PART AND REVERSED IN PART ON APPEAL; CONDITIONALLY AFFIRMED ON CROSS-APPEAL; AND REMANDED.  Heard by Doyle, P.J., Blane, S.J. and Lloyd, S.J.  Opinion by Doyle, P.J.  (26 pages)

            Olmstead Construction, Inc. (Olmstead Construction) and Otter Creek Investments, LLC (Otter Creek) both appeal following resolution of their contract dispute.  They challenge the district court’s determination of various contract terms that affect the damages, attorney fees, and interest awarded on Olmstead Construction’s breach-of-contract claim.  We must also determine whether the district court erred by refusing to foreclose on a mechanic’s lien.  OPINION HOLDS: I. Olmstead Construction is not entitled to the $48,150 the district court awarded for costs of the billed subcontractor electrical work that was not a cost under the contract.  Reducing the amount of the judgment awarded to Olmstead Construction on its breach-of-contract claim by this amount, we revise the judgment to award Olmstead Construction $115,245.84.  II. Because Olmstead Construction failed to prove the actual costs associated with use of the equipment it owns, we affirm the district court’s refusal to award damages on this basis.  III. Otter Creek was not required to make final payment until Olmstead Construction provided the requested documentation of its costs.  Because Otter Creek did not default under the agreement, Olmstead Construction is not entitled to an award of its attorney fees under the contract, and we reverse the award of $47,787.73 in attorney fees.  IV. Because damages were not complete at any specified time before the trial and the amount remained in controversy until the Court issued its final judgment, prejudgment interest is inappropriate.  We affirm the district court’s refusal to award Olmstead Construction prejudgment interest.  V. We conditionally affirm the denial of Olmstead Construction’s petition to foreclose on its mechanic’s lien and remand for further proceedings as directed. 

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