Civic Enterprises LLC v. State of Florida, Department of Transportation
Absent extraordinary circumstances, a plaintiff may not possess the right to rely on oral representations that a defendant will authorize additional work in writing. The plaintiff's complaint alleged that the parties agreed that the plaintiff's sole member, Dr. Jey K. Jeyapalan, would receive $500 per hour and that services would be capped at $65,000. In 2011, the parties modified the contract in writing and capped the plaintiff's fees at $85,000. Allegedly, the representatives of the defendant, the State of Florida Department of Transportation, indicated that the defendant would authorize an additional $65,000 in work, as soon as the defendant's attorney returned from vacation, and the plaintiff's sole member kept working. The plaintiff sued the defendant, alleging it billed the defendant $110,231, and the defendant failed to pay the balance. The court found that the plaintiff failed to prove a supplemental contract authorized the extra work. The written contract clearly stated that a written amendment was required to authorize work in excess of the $85,000 cap. "The unambiguous language of the written contract," wrote the court, "states that performance of services in excess of $85,000, absent a supplemental contract will result in nonpayment of those services." In the absence of proof of extraordinary circumstances, the plaintiff failed to prove it possessed the right to rely on oral representations that an amended contract would authorize the additional work. The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss.