Ocean West Contractors, Inc. v. Halec Construction Co

In Ocean West Contractors, Inc. v. Halec Construction Co., 123 Ariz. 470, 600 P.2d 1102 (1979), Halec, a subcontractor, sued Ocean West, a general contractor, for failing to pay sums due under a construction contract. Id. at 472, 600 P.2d at 1104. Ocean West counterclaimed, seeking damages incurred after Halec walked off the job. Id. The trial court found that Halec breached the contract but that Ocean West still owed money for the work completed before Halec left the job. Id. at 472-73, 600 P.2d at 1104-05. After offsetting back charges and credits, the court awarded Halec damages and attorney's fees pursuant to a mandatory fee provision in the parties' contract. Id. In the subsequent appeal, the supreme court acknowledged Halec's breach of contract but agreed Halec was the prevailing party entitled to fees because it was the party entitled to damages after applying all setoffs. Id. at 473-74, 600 P.2d at 1105-06.