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Edwards v. Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

April 8, 2014


Page 596

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 597

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: LEIGH ANN RETELSDORF, Judge.

Michael B. Kratville for appellant.

Matthew P. Saathoff and Cathy R. Saathoff, of Saathoff Law Group, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee.



Page 598

[21 Neb.App. 897] Pirtle, Judge.


Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church (Mount Moriah) appeals the rulings of the district court for Douglas County granting the motion for summary judgment of Rodney D. Edwards, Sr., doing business as The Home Improvement Store LLC, and overruling Mount Moriah's motion to alter or amend judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

[21 Neb.App. 898] BACKGROUND

Mount Moriah carries property insurance through Church Mutual Insurance Company (Church Mutual). Church Mutual hired Robert A. Olson to estimate the damage done to the church's roof by a windstorm on June 27, 2008. Olson is the owner of Accurate Insurance Adjusters, LLC, and has been an adjuster since 1986. Olson did the initial inspection of the church's roof in the summer and fall of 2010.

Olson prepared an initial estimated statement of loss based on a visual inspection of the damage to the building and roof. The statement estimated the cost of repair to be $29,922.45.

On or about October 28, 2010, Edwards, the sole owner of The Home Improvement Store, entered into a contract with Mount Moriah to replace the roof of the church. The contract stated:

Page 599

For the contract price(GRAND TOTAL) reflected in the Accurate Insurance Adjusters . . . final estimate,* [The Home Improvement Store] will furnish all labor and material according to the following specifications, thereinafter referred to as the work detail. Any additional unforeseen and /or omitted work needed in the completion, of this job will be documented, approved and invoiced to CHURCH MUTUAL . . . and subsequently remitted to [The Home Improvement Store] by [Mount Moriah].
. . . .

The contract identified Mount Moriah as the purchaser and owner of the premises at issue in Omaha, Nebraska. Under the contract, the church was to have no out-of-pocket expenses and a $500 deductible was to be waived if the church displayed a yard-sign advertisement for The Home Improvement Store for 60 days.

The contract identified The Home Improvement Store as the contractor, and the contract required a downpayment equal to 50 percent of the grand total upon the start of work, with the remaining balance to be remitted by the church upon completion of the work. Edwards obtained the necessary permits on November 3, 2010, and began work.

[21 Neb.App. 899] Edwards issued a " Revised Invoice for Roof" indicating Church Mutual had paid a total of $15,776.04 for all items completed by The Home Improvement Store. This included receipt of the downpayment of $9,827.27 and an additional payment of $5,948.76. The invoice indicates, " The remaining balance is subject to final approval of [Accurate Insurance Adjusters] and Church Mutual."

During the course of the roof replacement, Edwards determined that additional work was needed beyond the amount estimated in the original statement of loss. His recommendation was reviewed by Olson. Olson stated that on or about November 5, 2010, Edwards informed him of additional square footage not accounted for in the estimate, additional layers of old shingles requiring removal, damage to underlying decking, and additional items that needed to be completed to repair the church's roof.

Olson's affidavit stated that it is common and customary that when repair work is started, additional work may be necessary to complete all of the required repairs for proper replacement and repair of a roof. Olson personally inspected the roof and found Edwards' recommendation to be accurate.

Olson prepared a second statement of loss on November 29, 2010, reflecting the additional repairs. The amended total cost of repair was $38,210.74. The second statement also reflects discounts for certain charges, because these services were included in the original statement. The second statement was provided to Church Mutual, and the cost was approved as charged. The second statement shows that Church Mutual initially paid Mount Moriah $18,970.05 and that the remaining amount to be paid to cover the repair contract was $17,328.69. On November 29, Olson requested that Church Mutual make a final payment in the amount of $17,328.69, payable to both Mount Moriah and Edwards.

Olson stated that the increase between the first statement of loss and the second statement of loss reflected necessary increases in square footage, linear footage, and additional work and that Edwards did not ask for Olson to " double bill" for any work completed. He stated that the charges were normal [21 Neb.App. 900] and customary charges for the type of work completed and that they were fair and reasonable.

Page 600

The work was completed on or about November 12, 2010. Edwards stated Mount Moriah informed him that the church did not want certain siding and trim or gutter work to be completed and that the church did not want certain awnings replaced; this work was not completed, and Edwards did not charge for these services. The value of this work, as set out in the second statement of loss, was subtracted from the total in Edwards' final invoice, sent December 16. The " grand total" reflected in the final invoice was $34,602.74. The final invoice acknowledged the previous payments by Mount Moriah of $9,827.27 and $5,948.76 and requested payment of the remaining amount due, $18,826.71.

After receipt of the final invoice, Mount Moriah submitted a partial payment of $9,425.86 to Edwards; however, the check was returned to Edwards by the church's bank because the account had insufficient funds on January 20, 2011. The bank sent Edwards a letter stating that Mount Moriah's account ...

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