BRUCE COPE, MARY COPE AND IKE W. THRASH
THRASHER CONSTRUCTION, INC.
OF JUDGMENT: 10/01/2014
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MICHAEL H. WARD
COURT ATTORNEYS: TAYLOR B. McNEEL SAMUEL C. KELLY KAREN E.
HOWELL NICHOLAS VAN WISER WILLIAM J. LITTLE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: NICHOLAS VAN WISER
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: TAYLOR B. McNEEL SAMUEL C. KELLY
KAREN E. HOWELL
WALLER, CHIEF JUSTICE
Thrasher Construction, Inc. (Thrasher) brought a third-party
beneficiary action against Bruce Cope, Mary Cope, and Ike
Thrash (the Copes and Thrash) in the County Court of the
First Judicial District of Harrison County. Thrasher sought
damages for payments owed for waterproofing the Inn by the
Sea, a condominium in which the Copes and Thrash had acquired
a full ownership interest by agreeing, in part, to pay all
outstanding bills for work previously performed on the
property. During trial, the county court dismissed the
third-party beneficiary claim but allowed Thrasher to proceed
on a quantum meruit theory of the case. The jury
returned a verdict in favor of Thrasher for $69, 290, and the
county court entered judgment based on that verdict. The
Copes and Thrash appealed the judgment to the Circuit Court
of the First Judicial District of Harrison County, which
affirmed the judgment of the county court. The Copes and
Thrash then appealed to the Court of Appeals, arguing the
facts do not support a recovery on quantum meruit.
Thrasher cross-appealed, arguing the trial court erred in
dismissing its third-party beneficiary claim.
The Court of Appeals held quantum meruit was not the
proper method of relief because the action should have
proceeded as a third-party beneficiary claim. The Court of
Appeals reversed the judgment and remanded for further
proceedings consistent with its opinion. We agree the
third-party beneficiary action was the appropriate basis for
Thrasher's recovery; however, because the trial court
ultimately reached the correct result, no further proceedings
are needed in this case.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The facts of this case required for review on appeal are
adequately set out by the Court of Appeals in its majority
opinion. Cope v. Thrasher Const., Inc., 2016 WL
3523874, at **1-2 (Miss. Ct. App. June 28, 2016).
Inn by the Sea was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The owners of the individual units engaged SeaInn LLC
(SeaInn) to develop a new complex and rebuild. SeaInn
consisted of two members, Greg Stewart and Kenny Labelle. The
unit owners conveyed their interest in the property to SeaInn
in order to begin the project. SeaInn then hired Madison
Homes as its general contractor. Greg Stewart is the only
known representative of Madison Homes.
In February 2009, Madison Homes contracted with Thrasher
Construction in order to waterproof Inn by the Sea. Thrasher
Construction was to be paid $106, 600 for this project.
Thrasher Construction worked on the Inn by the Sea project
from April to July of 2009. Each month, it sent an invoice to
Madison Homes, but none of the invoices were paid.
Eventually, upon completion of sixty-five percent of the work
on the Inn by the Sea project, Thrasher Construction stopped
work due to nonpayment. Thrasher Construction then filed a
Notice of Construction Lien against the Inn by the Sea
property in September 2009. The amount due at the time that
Thrasher Construction stopped work was $69, 290, calculated
based on the percentage of the project completed.
Ike Thrash later purchased Labelle's fifty percent
interest in SeaInn. He then signed over part of his interest
to Bruce Cope and Mary Cope. After realizing that neither
Stewart nor Madison Homes was paying the subcontractors, Cope
and Thrash entered into a settlement agreement with Stewart
to remove him. Cope and Thrash agreed to take over and
complete certain projects. Cope and Thrash agreed to pay the
subcontractors on the Inn by the Sea project to the extent
that the invoices provided by Stewart were "true,
valid[, ] and correct." ...