Zachry Constr. Corp. v. Port of Houston Auth. of Harris County (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, a construction corporation, contracted to construct a wharf for Respondent, the Port of Houston Authority of Harris County, Texas. After the construction was to be completed, Petitioner sued, claiming damages from delays caused by the Port. The Port, in turn, claimed that a no-damages-for-delay provision in the construction contract between the parties precluded delay damages. Petitioner also sought recovery of $2.36 million in delay damages withheld by the Port for Petitioner’s failure to meet deadlines. After a trial, the jury found that the Port had breached the contract for deliberately and wrongfully interfering with Petitioner’s work, causing Petitioner to incur $18,602,697 in delay damages. The jury also found Petitioner had not released its claim to the $2.36 million liquidated damages the Port withheld. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals, holding (1) the Local Government Contract Claims Act waives governmental immunity from suit on a contract claim for delay damages the contract does not call for; (2) the no-damages-for-delay provision in the parties’ contract did not shield the Port from liability for deliberately and wrongfully interfering with the contractor’s work; and (3) Petitioner was entitled to recover the liquidated damages withheld by the Port.