Clayton Pickens v. John R. Underwood, et al.

Clayton Pickens v. John R. Underwood, et al.

This appeal arises from a dispute over a construction contract between Clayton Pickens (“Pickens”), a general contractor, and John R. Underwood (“Underwood”) and his wife Suzanne Curtin (“the Underwoods,” collectively). Pickens sued Underwood initially in Chancery Court but later transferred to the Circuit Court for Blount County (“the Trial Court”) for allegedly failing to pay him under a contract to build the Underwoods’ home. Underwood filed counterclaims against Pickens alleging, among other things, fraud, cost overruns, violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act, and entering into a construction contract in excess of the monetary limit on Pickens’ contractor’s license. This case was tried before a jury. The jury found the Underwoods breached the construction contract and awarded Pickens $147,340.25. The jury also found that Pickens breached the contract through certain errors in construction and awarded the Underwoods $10,740.00. The Trial Court entered its final judgment affirming the jury’s verdict and awards of damages. The Underwoods appeal, arguing in part that Pickens should have been limited to his actual documented expenses because he entered the construction contract in excess of his contractor’s license limit. We hold, inter alia, that under the law in effect at the time of the execution of the contract, Pickens was not limited in damages to his actual documented expenses. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

Authoring Judge: 
Judge D. Michael Swiney
Originating Judge: 
Judge David Reed Duggan
Date Filed: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2018