In Mozingo & Wallace Architects, L.L.P. v. Patricia Grand, Ltd. P’ship the owner contracted with an architecture firm to perform schematic design work for the renovation of a hotel’s exterior. The owner subsequently asked the firm to design a renovation of the lobby and laundry facility. Claiming that its exterior design work was complete under the original contract, the firm sent the owner an invoice for its services. The firm’s work on the interior renovation was invoiced as an additional expense. Demanding full payment for services to date, the firm terminated its services. The owner demanded a refund of the amount it already paid. Seeking foreclosure of a mechanic’s lien and quantum meruit, the firm sued the owner. The owner counterclaimed for breach of contract. The trial court found in favor of the firm and awarded it damages for architectural fees. Both parties appealed.

The appellate court held that, because the firm fulfilled its responsibilities under the contact or was prevented from doing so by the owner’s actions, the trial court did not err in allowing the firm to recover under the contract. First, the owner ordered the firm to stop work on the exterior renovation before it could begin the second phase. Additionally, the owner’s own acts prevented the firm from completing the revisions. The court went on to state that the firm was never given a directive by the owner to submit the schematics to the board for review. The firm needed the owner’s final approval of the conceptual design and a current as-built survey before the firm could make such a submittal. Finally, the firm had difficulty complying with the zoning ordinances because the owner did not provide the current as-built survey.

Mozingo & Wallace Architects, L.L.P. v. Patricia Grand, Ltd. P’ship, 379 S.C. 478, 666 S.E.2D 267, 2008 S.C. App. LEXIS 126 (S.C. Ct. App. 2008).