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Brannock Humphries & Berman Clinches Win in Surety Appeal

Handling the oral argument after briefing by the trial team, Brannock Humphries & Berman helped ensure a favorable decision in an appeal of a summary judgment entered in favor of a surety company. 

The underlying dispute involved a bond issued by the surety to guarantee a contractor’s performance of irrigation and land preparation work on a 6,300-plus acre farm property.  Ultimately, the landowner terminated the contractor from the project and sought to collect on the bond.  The trial court rejected this effort and granted summary judgment to the surety based on the landowner’s failure to comply with the very particular notice requirements contained in the bond contract.  The landowner then appealed.

Brannock Humphries & Berman, which is handling the related appeal of the construction dispute, was brought in to orally argue the surety dispute in front of the Second District Court of Appeal.   After a virtual argument held via Zoom, the Second District issued a per curiam affirmance denying the landowner’s attempt to collect on the bond.  The appellate court agreed with Brannock Humphries & Berman’s arguments that the landowner did not give the surety company proper notice of the termination, which meant the surety did not have an opportunity to mitigate its damages.  This failure to provide the required notice relieved the surety of its obligations.