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A. Salvati Masonry Inc. v. Andreozzi

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

January 6, 2017

A. Salvati Masonry Inc.
v.
Michael Andreozzi et al.

         Kent County Superior Court Nos. KM 13-1278, KC 14-773 Associate Justice Allen P. Rubine

          For Plaintiff: Raymond R. Pezza, Esq.

          For Defendants: Joseph R. Daigle, Esq.

          Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

          OPINION

          Gilbert V. Indeglia, Associate Justice

         In these consolidated cases, [1] the plaintiff, A. Salvati Masonry Inc. (Salvati or plaintiff), appeals a nonjury-trial judgment for the defendants, Michael and Amy Andreozzi (the Andreozzis or defendants). This case came before the Supreme Court on November 3, 2016, pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issues raised should not be summarily decided. After considering the arguments set forth in the parties' memoranda and at oral argument, we are convinced that cause has not been shown. Thus, further argument or briefing is not required to decide this matter. For the reasons outlined below, the Superior Court's judgment is affirmed.

         I

         Facts and Travel

         This appeal emanates from a payment dispute over the construction of a backyard patio at defendants' property on Old Farm Road in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. To develop their property, the property owners, the Andreozzis, hired Pariseault Builders (Pariseault) as a general contractor. In turn, Pariseault, a nonparty, subcontracted with Salvati for masonry work. From this involvement, Salvati claims money owed by the Andreozzis beyond that paid to it by Pariseault.

         Mr. Michael Andreozzi testified first. He stated that he contracted in writing with Pariseault to build his home for $1.8 million. He and his wife paid Pariseault $180, 000 for their general contracting services, and Pariseault subcontracted out various project parts. Mr. Andreozzi stated that Salvati submitted two bids on the project. The first, which involved the house structure, was completed. For this bid, Salvati received full payment of approximately $135, 000. Pertinent to this appeal, the second bid, for $88, 845, related to exterior landscaping.

         Mr. Andreozzi testified that the second bid with Pariseault "included all of the back patio work, the pool patio, the walls around the back of the house, stone pillars, limestone caps, steps, et cetera * * * ." As such, he believed that Pariseault should have paid Salvati for the aforementioned work. Mr. Andreozzi responded affirmatively when asked whether he paid for the patio as part of Salvati's $88, 845 bid for the second phase of masonry work.[2]

         Additionally, Mr. Andreozzi testified about a conversation with Keith Salvati, [3] owner of Salvati, on July 10, 2013. He stated that Mr. Salvati told him that he made a significant error in his bid, worth between $12, 000 and $15, 000, because the bid erroneously omitted the patio masonry work. He also stated that Mr. Salvati told him to withhold payment for not-yet- completed work. He further acknowledged that Salvati performed extra work outside of the original Pariseault subcontract, which he paid for on the basis of "time and materials."

         Mr. Salvati testified next. He confirmed that Pariseault contacted Salvati to submit a masonry bid for the Andreozzis' project. Mr. Salvati denied making any bid-preparation error and asking Mr. Andreozzi to hold back payments.

         Mr. Salvati testified that his prepared bid for Pariseault as the masonry project subcontractor excluded the back patio. He stated that he therefore did not bill Pariseault for the patio work he performed. He testified that the item Mr. Andreozzi referenced on the bid involved "the landscape part of the project, " which encompassed "[c]ultured stone on walls, steps, and columns." Mr. Salvati also testified that he neither discussed a specific price for the patio work with the Andreozzis nor billed them on the basis of labor and materials. He suggested that the second masonry bid excluded the patio because the patio specifications, including the stone material and color, were ...


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