NEW ORLEANS – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana recently dismissed the remainder of a breach of contract lawsuit filed by a contracting company hired to construct a courthouse in Orleans Parish.
In a Jan. 7 filing, 2019, U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ruled in favor of the Judicial District Court Building Commission Orleans Parish, et.al. (JBC), dismissing, with prejudice a suit filed by CFP New Orleans LLC. CFP entered a professional services agreement in December 2014 with JBC to "provide JBC a complete, turn-key array of services required to plan, finance, construct, and equip the facility for use by the current occupants of the Civil District Court Complex,” the court documents said.
However, plans for the proposed Canal Street building were eventually scrapped and CFP filed suit alleging breach of contract and asking the courts for nearly $1 million.
According to court filings, CFP claimed they were owed $467,564 based on the agreement in order "to obtain ‘site control’ of the Canal Street and Cleveland Avenue immovable properties at issue here.”
In the latest court ruling, Milazzo found the agreement provides that "any third party expenses required pre-approval by JBC, the agreement must have contemplated a budget or, at the very least, some type of negotiation regarding third party expenses before CFP presented JBC with thousands of dollars in receipts for dining, legal fees, and, among other expenses, first class airfare. Because CFP never received pre-approval for such expenses, it cannot now claim it is entitled to them. As such, JBC does not owe CFP any more money under the agreement."
According to court documents, JBC terminated its agreement with CFP in October 2015. Under the agreement JBC could terminate the agreement without cause under a "termination for convenience" provision. Should the termination occur, JBC would be “obligated to pay (CFP) only for those services performed and to reimburse for all third party expenses incurred by (CFP) under (the) agreement up to and through the date of termination.” Any fees for services were to be “equitably adjusted.” Court documents say CFP never received pre-approval for any third party expenses.