Judge rules for Manor VFD in dispute
Citing the lack of a written agreement, a district judge extinguished a contractor's claim that the Manor Volunteer Fire Department owed him nearly $5,000 for storing and installing kitchen equipment in the new fire station.
Harrison City District Judge Helen Kistler ruled in favor of the department last week in a dispute involving David J. Lauffer, the owner of Manor-based J.E. Fugh Mechanical Services Inc.
Lauffer and longtime firefighters Mike Radakovich and Albert Markijohn agreed on a key point in the dispute that landed in small-claims court: There wasn't a contract for the work.
But Lauffer rejected the department's assertion that he donated the work to the fire department.
At one point in the April 24 hearing, Kistler asked Lauffer why he didn't “feel the need” to tell the department what the charges would be when he agreed to perform the work.
“I don't care if it's family,” Kistler said. “If it's business, it's business, and it should be in writing.”
Stemming from a quarrel dating back to 2011, Lauffer filed a civil suit in March seeking payment for twice removing and installing kitchen equipment that was outside the scope of the contract for the new station built that year.
Lauffer, whose firm was a subcontractor for the station project, said his claim for $4,841 included a discounted rate for his employees' labor on the kitchen work and the value of storing and insuring the equipment in his warehouse for several months.
The claim included an interest charge, which the department's attorney, Kim Houser, said state law barred because there wasn't a pact outlining any potential late fees.
Lauffer said he agreed to help the firefighters, who requested his immediate help, but was disappointed when they didn't respond to his invoices.
Both Radakovich and Markijohn said they spoke with Lauffer in 2011 after his company completed the work and mailed an invoice. Radakovich, who was the company's president then, said he asked Lauffer if he should submit the invoice to the department for its consideration.
“He said, ‘No, don't worry about it,'” Radakovich testified.
The firefighters contend that Lauffer sought payment after there were some issues with the general contractor on the project.
Houser said Lauffer didn't have any evidence that the department owes him anything.
Lauffer contends the department didn't solicit his help as a donation. If it was a donation, he said, he never has been thanked for it.
“I've done projects larger than this without a contract,” Lauffer said. “I guess, shame on me. I trusted them.”
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Inaction on landlord ordinance riles Trafford mayor
- Penn-Trafford’s Aunkst getting her kicks for football, soccer teams
- Penn Township gets $211K DCNR grant for park redevelopment