Both Parties Will Bear Costs For Road Defects

Wednesday, December 27, 2017 9:32 am
January 2018 - Volume 40 Number 1

Reede Constr., Inc. v. S.D.DOT, 2017 S.D. Lexis 130
(Nov. 1, 2017)

A contractor’s choice of concrete may or may not have contributed to the cracks that spidered across a highway construction project. But a jury decided neither party deserved to recoup money lost, and that verdict will stand.

Reede Construction Inc. (Reede) was the general contractor on a South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) project to perform work on a portion of Interstate 29 and Highway 42 in Sioux Falls. When defects appeared in the new pavement, DOT refused to issue a letter of acceptance for the work. Reede eventually left the job and then sued DOT for breach of contract, quantum meruit, and unjust enrichment.

DOT counterclaimed for breach of contract and breach of implied warranty of workmanship. A trial jury ruled that neither party was entitled to damages. Dissatisfied, DOT filed a motion for a new trial. When a circuit court denied that motion, DOT appealed to the Supreme Court of South Dakota.

The underlying issue here was concrete. At the project’s outset in the spring of 2006, DOT approved of Reede’s proposed concrete mix design by appending a special provision to t[..]