On Friday, January 24, 2020, a Lake County Common Pleas Court returned a unanimous jury verdict in favor of Hahn Loeser’s client — TRAX Construction Co. — against the Village of Reminderville, Ohio, its design professional OHM Advisors, Inc., and Village Engineer, Eugene Esser, awarding our client the full $1.1 million it sought for compensatory damages.  The jury also found OHM Advisors and Mr. Esser had committed fraud, and in addition to liability for compensatory damages, awarded TRAX $375,000 in punitive damages and its attorney’s fees.

TRAX is a family-owned and operated construction business specializing in site preparation, including installation and relocation of utilities, asphalt milling and paving, concrete work and landscaping.  It brought the case against Reminderville alleging failure to pay for directed change order work arising from a differing site condition, as well as retainage and contract balance.  It also sued OHM Advisors and Mr. Esser for fraud alleging that, as Reminderville’s project manager and engineers, they directed TRAX to perform the work before denying responsibility.  TRAX further alleged that this behavior reflected the intent mislead TRAX into performing.

Hahn Loeser was involved from early on and proactively assisted TRAX with real-time project documentation. With Hahn Loeser’s guidance, TRAX fully developed its project file which served as a key tool in aiding Hahn Loeser trial attorneys to powerfully present TRAX’s case ultimately leading to a verdict in TRAX’s favor.

This case is important to the construction industry, as it reinforces the applicability of the Spearin Doctrine, and sends a cautionary message to engineer project managers who direct that extra work without the expectation of paying the contractor compensation.  Hahn Loeser is proud of the victory our trial team achieved for TRAX.  Our trial team included attorneys O. Judson Scheaf, III, Andrew J. Natale, Aaron S. Evenchik, Jeffrey A. Yeager, and Elisé K. Yarnell, with trial support from paralegal Beth A. Dannaher and assistant Jennifer Jefferson-Beard.

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Photo of Aaron S. Evenchik Aaron S. Evenchik

Aaron S. Evenchik specializes in construction and real estate law, where he represents clients in both transactional and litigation matters. His cross-practice technique allows him to help resolve disputes innovatively and effectively. Aaron’s experience with transactions and handling multiple first chair litigation/arbitration matters…

Aaron S. Evenchik specializes in construction and real estate law, where he represents clients in both transactional and litigation matters. His cross-practice technique allows him to help resolve disputes innovatively and effectively. Aaron’s experience with transactions and handling multiple first chair litigation/arbitration matters enables him to better understand the goal of the deal and draft transactional documents to avoid problems and disputes. He advocates for and assists clients of all sizes to explore and close on properties, obtain zoning and to grow their businesses and meet their objectives.

Photo of O. Judson Scheaf III O. Judson Scheaf III

O. Judson Scheaf III is a partner in Hahn Loeser’s Columbus office with 30 years of experience in civil litigation, including trial and appellate work. He handles complex commercial litigation matters, including construction, antitrust, oil and gas, unfair competition, patent, copyright, trade secret…

O. Judson Scheaf III is a partner in Hahn Loeser’s Columbus office with 30 years of experience in civil litigation, including trial and appellate work. He handles complex commercial litigation matters, including construction, antitrust, oil and gas, unfair competition, patent, copyright, trade secret, investment banker malpractice, and land use disputes.

Photo of Andrew J. Natale Andrew J. Natale

Andrew J. Natale devotes his practice solely to construction law, where he represents general contractors, design/builders, surety companies, subcontractors, specialty trades, suppliers, manufacturers, developers, lenders, owners, and design professionals in all aspects of construction law, including arbitration, mediation and complex commercial litigation.