WAXAHACHIE, Texas, Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A unanimous jury in Waxahachie has sided with a local homeowner who sued RW Caldwell Construction and owner Russell Caldwell after the company walked away from a half-completed home renovation and later asked to be paid twice the original estimate.
Jurors in Judge Bob Carroll's 40th District Court in Ellis County awarded nearly $39,000 in actual damages to homeowner Jackie Wright. Based on the jury's finding that Mr. Caldwell intentionally violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the award could be tripled to approximately $117,000. Ms. Wright also is seeking attorneys' fees.
The jury of eight men and four women delivered the verdict Nov. 18 following one week of testimony and only two hours of deliberations. Ms. Wright was represented by attorneys Darrell W. Cook and Catherine A. Keith of Dallas' Darrell W. Cook & Associates.
"We are very happy that this jury closely examined the evidence and delivered a just verdict," says Ms. Keith, lead trial counsel for Ms. Wright. "Our client paid a lot of money only to see Mr. Caldwell walk away in the middle of a major construction project. This verdict sends a clear message to construction companies that Ellis County juries won't tolerate such conduct."
Ms. Wright hired Mr. Caldwell last year to add a bathroom and closet to her home in Ennis. After completing roughly 40 percent of the project, Mr. Caldwell walked away. He refused to finish the work even though Ms. Wright had already paid him nearly $65,000 for the job, which was estimated at less than $60,000. Within a week of abandoning the project, Mr. Caldwell demanded an additional $9,000 from Ms. Wright in alleged unpaid invoices.
Ms. Wright then sent Mr. Caldwell a "notice of defects" letter required by Texas law. After receiving the letter, Mr. Caldwell offered to complete the work for an additional $60,000. Ms. Wright responded by filing her lawsuit in September 2012.
During the trial, jurors heard evidence that Mr. Caldwell submitted invoices for which he had already been paid and that he claimed to have performed work that was never done.
For more information on the fraud verdict, please contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or [email protected].
SOURCE Darrell W. Cook & Associates