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Chasney & Company, Inc. v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co.

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

June 22, 2015



WILLIAM D. QUARLES, Jr., District Judge.

United States of America f/u/b/o Chasney and Company, Inc. ("Chasney") sued Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. ("Hartford") for recovery under the Miller Act.[1] The Court granted James W. Ancel, Inc.'s ("Ancel") motion to intervene.[2] Pending is the Defendants' motion to dismiss. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be denied.

I. Background[3]

Ancel entered into a construction contract with the United States Army Corps of Engineers ("the Owner") to build an Army reserve center in Baltimore, Maryland. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 5. In accordance with the construction contract, Ancel executed a labor and material payment bond with Hartford as surety. Id. at ¶ 6. Ancel then entered into a subcontract agreement with Chasney for the HVAC and plumbing services on the project. Id. at ¶ 7.

Under the subcontract agreement, Chasney was to receive a lump sum of $1, 500, 000.00. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 7. The agreement stated that Chasney was "bound to the Contractor in the same way the Contractor is bound to the Owner and shall assume toward the Contractor all the obligations and responsibilities which the Contractor assumes toward the Owner and shall have the benefit of all rights, remedies and redress against the Contractor which the Contractor, pursuant to the Prime Contract, has against the Owner, except that this Subcontract shall govern any inconsistent provision of the Prime Contract." ECF No. 1-2 at 1. The agreement also contained a "no damages for delay" clause:

The Contractor shall not be liable to [the] Subcontractor for delays caused by the Owner or other subcontractors or suppliers. [The] Subcontractor shall be entitled to reimbursement only for damages for delays recovered from the Owner, and the Subcontractor shall have the right, at its expense, to exercise against the Owner all provisions of the Prime Contract to recover said damages. The Contractor shall have the right, at any time and for any reason, to delay, suspend or accelerate the whole or any part of the work without incurring liability therefor.

Id. at 3.

Chasney alleges that during the project, it rendered "additional labor and materials" in the amount of $676.00. ECF No. 1 at ¶ 9. Chasney also asserts that the project was delayed, and it "incurred additional uncontemplated costs" in the amount of $380, 687.65. Id. at ¶ 12. Chasney believes that "Ancel sought and obtained additional compensation from the Owner for the delays to the [p]roject, including the delays suffered by Chasney on the Project." Id. at ¶ 14. "Nevertheless, Ancel has failed and refused to pay Chasney for the Delay Damages incurred...." Id. at ¶ 15. To date, Ancel has paid Chasney $1, 469, 694, 55. Id. at ¶ 10.

II. Analysis

A. Legal Standard

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6), an action can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Rule 12(b) (6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint, but does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

The Court bears in mind that Rule 8(a) (2) requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001). Although Rule 8's notice-pleading requirements are "not onerous, " the plaintiff must allege facts that support each element of the claim advanced. Bass v. E. I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 764-65 (4th Cir. 2003). These facts must be sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007).

This requires that the plaintiff do more than "plead[] facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability'"; the facts pled must "allow[] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) ( quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). The complaint must not only allege but also "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Id. at 679 (internal quotation marks omitted). "Whe[n] the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of ...

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