Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wagner v. Novelli

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

May 21, 2018

WILLARD P. WAGNER, ET AL.
v.
ERIC MARTIN NOVELLI

          Session April 17, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hamilton County No. 14C1262 W. Neil Thomas, III, Judge

         This appeal concerns a dispute over an agreement to install a heating and air conditioning system ("HVAC") in a house. Eric Martin Novelli ("Novelli") engaged Willard P. Wagner d/b/a Wagner Heating & Air ("Wagner") to install an HVAC system at Novelli's house. There was no written contract. Novelli grew dissatisfied with Wagner's work and dismissed him from the project. Wagner sued Novelli in the Circuit Court for Hamilton County ("the Trial Court") for payment on the project. Novelli filed an answer and counterclaim. Novelli alleged, among other things, that the units Wagner installed were too large which created problems. After a trial, the Trial Court found that it could not find any breach of contract with respect to installation. Instead, the Trial Court applied the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC") and awarded Wagner $11, 400 for payment on the project. Novelli appeals to this Court. We find, as did the Trial Court, that Wagner in sizing the units relied on specifications Novelli gave him, installed the HVAC per their agreement using merchantable, fit for purpose units, and is entitled to judgment as awarded by the Trial Court. We affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed; Case Remanded

          Timothy M. Gibbons and Logan Threadgill, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Eric Martin Novelli.

          William G. Schwall, Chickamauga, Georgia, for the appellee, Willard P. Wagner d/b/a Wagner Heating & Air.

          D. Michael Swiney, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Richard H. Dinkins and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE

         Background

         In 2013, Novelli sought to install an HVAC system in his three level house. The house did not belong to Novelli personally, but rather belonged to a trust established by Novelli's father of which Novelli was trustee. To install the HVAC system, Novelli hired Wagner. No written agreement exists between the parties. The parties, who disagree on almost everything, agree that Wagner was to install the HVAC system for Novelli. Both Novelli and Wagner are experienced builders.

         Novelli was highly critical of Wagner's work. Novelli cites numerous claimed flaws, one of which is that Wagner allegedly overestimated the necessary cooling capacity. According to Novelli, this excessive cooling capacity caused the HVAC to malfunction. For his part, Wagner contends that he merely acted on computations he made to size the units based upon information supplied by Novelli. Novelli sent Wagner an email telling him his work on the project was complete and not to return.

         In October 2014, Wagner sued Novelli in the Trial Court. Wagner alleged that Novelli owed him $14, 100. Wagner also asserted mechanic's and materialman's lien. In June 2015, Novelli filed an answer and counterclaim alleging that Wagner's work was inadequate and that Novelli spent $18, 850 to repair Wagner's deficient work.

         This case was tried on August 9 and November 8-9, 2016. Wagner testified in part regarding his working relationship with Novelli and what he understood their agreement to be:

Q. We really need to get specific. Specifically, what was your agreement with Mr. Novelli?
A. To install heating and air in his house in Thunder Farms.
Q. Did you go further and talk about what needed to be done to do that?
A. Yes.
Q. And what exactly did you discuss?
A. Equipment size, location -- this is over several different meetings -- generally just where to put the equipment, what he wanted as far as gas appliances, you know, things like that.
***
Q. Did you ever ask Mr. Novelli for a punch list?
A. Yes.
Q. And what did he say?
A. He just kept saying he would have me something, and he never did.
Q. Was that a constant problem you had?
A. Yes.
Q. Let's get back -- how often were you actually on this project?
A. I was there -- for every five days, I was there at least three days of those five. I had to go do service calls and look at other jobs; so I couldn't be there all the time, but I was there quite a bit.
Q. How often did you talk to Mr. Novelli?
A. Every day I was there. He wasn't there every day, but he was there quite a bit, and I talked to him every day.
Q. Were those pleasant conversations?
A. Only that I was a poor planner and I couldn't do anything right. That's about -- you know, a lot of times, we would actually discuss relevant things and get things placed where they should be.

         Novelli, detailing his own account of his dealings with Wagner, testified in part:

Q. Did you have discussion with Mr. Wagner about the HVAC units that would be installed in the house?
A. No, other than the brand of it.
Q. And what brand did you ask for?
A. I asked for Rheem.
Q. R-H-E-E-M?
A. That's correct.
Q. Did you tell Mr. Wagner how many units you wanted?
A. Actually, when we first discussed this project, I wanted to run two units. But he told me that was against Hamilton County code; you had to have one unit per floor of living space. I had built other houses in Georgia and Alabama where we used two, because, essentially, these type houses have a high roof, and you have a bonus room that's not always utilized; so it seems kind of excessive to run an air-conditioning system for a room that gets used ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.