Painting Contractor Liable for Breach of Express Warranty

The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment that a commercial painting contractor breached its express warranty and is liable for $92,000 in damages. In Contemporary Contractors, Inc. v. WILC/MVL, LLP, et. al. (Tex. App—Dallas May 28, 2015), Cause No. 05-14-00411-CV, Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a contract for Defendant to replace and repair exterior wood on and to paint the exterior of an apartment complex in Grapevine, Texas. The contract contained the following express warranty: “All work described herein shall be warranted and guaranteed to be free from defects and failure and to perform as intended for a period of five years from completion.” About one year after the work was completed, Plaintiff began noticing issues with the exterior paint and asked Defendant to repaint the property. Defendant refused. Plaintiff hired another contractor to repair and repaint the complex for $92,000 and subsequently sued Defendant for breach of express warranty.

The Dallas Court of Appeals interpreted the express warranty as having two parts, either of which, if violated, would breach the warranty. First, the work was to be free from defects and failure. Second, the work was to perform as intended for five years. The Court noted that an express warranty is a definitive of affirmation of fact or a promise that becomes part of the basis of the bargain and upon which the parties rely. Express warranties arise out of parties’ agreed terms and result from a negotiated exchange. Whether the work was performed in a good and workmanlike manner is not at issue; instead the issue is whether the contractor met the express warranty terms.

As the work did not last for five years, as warranted, Defendant breached its warranty. The Court also held that sufficient evidence supported an award of $92,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs. Plaintiff introduced the contract with the repair contractor as evidence of reasonable and necessary cost of repair. Plaintiff’s president authenticated the repair contract and the contract and testimony taken together were legally sufficient to support the damages.