Ohio Appeals Court Holds That Contractor Who Seeks Application of HOOP Formula to Calculate Home Office Overhead Need Not Prove The Conditions Precedent For Application of Eichleay Formula

by Pepper Hamilton LLP
Contact

Wood Elec., Inc. v. Ohio Facilities Constr. Comm’n, 10th Dist. Franklin No. 16AP-643, 2017-Ohio-2743, 2017 Ohio App. Lexis 1745 (May 9, 2017)

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (“OFCC”), together with a school district, an architect, and a construction manager, issued an invitation for bids to build a school. Three prime contractors were chosen: a general contractor, a mechanical contractor, and an electrical contractor, Wood Electric (“Wood”).

The general contractor failed to meet the contractual milestones for either temporary enclosure or full building enclosure, significantly delaying Wood’s work. Wood notified the OFCC of the likely impact on its work soon after the general contractor failed to meet the first milestone, and requested an extension of its own deadlines. The OFCC denied Wood’s request. Wood then requested an extension of time in which to prepare, substantiate, and certify a formal claim, which the OFCC also denied.  Wood hastened to submit a timely claim, projecting an impact of $207,467.57, and reserving its right to supplement the claim when the full impact on its work became known.

When OFCC denied Wood’s claim, Wood sued OFCC in the Court of Claims.  At trial, OFCC acknowledged that Wood had a proper claim, but disputed the $254,027 amount, which included $35,006 for home office overhead.  Wood’s expert testified that he had calculated the home office overhead using the “HOOP” formula adopted by the Ohio Department of Transportation.  The trial court ultimately entered judgment in favor of Wood for the full amount of its claim.

On appeal, the OFCC argued that the Court of Claims’ award of home office overhead was contrary to the 2002 decision of Ohio Supreme Court in Complete General Construction Co. v. Ohio Department of Transportation.  In Complete General, the Supreme Court set forth two prima facie elements that a contractor must demonstrate before the Eichleay formula, a formula developed by the federal Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals to calculate home office overhead, may be applied in awarding damages: (1) the contractor was on standby, and (2) that it was unable to take on other work while on standby.

Wood, however, never sought to use the Eichleay formula to compute its home office overhead; rather, it relied upon a similar, but not identical, HOOP formula.  The court noted that nothing in the parties’ contract required Wood to use the Eichleay formula in computing home office overhead and the use of the Eichleay formula is discretionary.  Because Wood did not seek to apply the Eichleay formula, Complete General did not apply, and Wood was not required to meet the conditions precedent for its application.

The OFCC also argued that Wood should have been forbidden from asserting higher damages in its action in the Court of Claims than in its initial certified claim, but was unable to cite any statute, case, or rule in support of its argument.  The Court of Appeals found that after timely noticing its claim, Wood had requested and been denied an extension of the claim certification deadline.  This forced Wood to submit a certified claim without taking account of the full impact of the ongoing delays caused by the general contractor.

The Court held that it would have been inequitable for the trial court to have restricted Wood to its certified claim when the OFCC forced it to submit its claim before being able to take the full measure of its damages. Had Wood waited to submit its notice until it became aware of the full extent of damages, that notice would have been untimely, and the OFCC would likely have denied it for that reason.  Accordingly, there was no basis for constraining the monetary amount of Wood’s suit in the Court of Claims to match the amount asserted in its certified claim.

Finally, the OFCC argued that the trial court impermissibly shifted the burden of proof to OFCC to prove a lack of liability when it observed that the OFCC had not offered evidence of an alternative damages calculation.  The Court of Appeals reproduced the trial court’s reasoning, in which the trial court found both that Wood had proved its case and that it had offered a reasonable computation of damages.  In light of these findings, no burden-shifting had occurred.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

To view the full text of the court’s decision, courtesy of Lexis®, click here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pepper Hamilton LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Contact
more
less

Pepper Hamilton LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.