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Damages awarded to Carnell Construction

Friday, August 17, 2012


A federal jury has awarded more than $900,000 in damages to a minority contractor in its lawsuit against the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

The jury found that the authority breached a contract with Henry County-based Carnell Construction Corp.

Jurors, however, said there was no racial discrimination. The lawsuit had claimed authority executives discriminated against Carnell, a minority-owned business, while it was working on a federal housing project in 2008.

Carnell Construction filed the suit against the Danville Redevelopment and Housing Authority (DRHA) in 2010. This week’s verdict came in the second trial of the lawsuit.

Carnell, which is on A.L. Philpott Highway in Henry County, is a site preparation firm. Both its president, Michael Scales, and its project superintendent, Vincent Scales, are black, according to a May 3, 2011, Martinsville Bulletin article.

The DRHA contracted with Carnell to perform grading work on a public housing project in Danville, and Carnell worked on the project from June 2008 to May 2009, according to court records.

A jury seated in U.S. District Court in Danville found in favor of Carnell on the racial discrimination claim on Feb. 17, 2011, and awarded $3,168,341.14 in damages. Jurors also found that Carnell, DRHA and Blaine Square LLC, also a party in the case, breached the contract, but the jurors did not award damages on those claims.

On May 2, 2011, Senior U.S. District Judge Jackson L. Kiser of Martinsville, who presided over the trial, granted DRHA’s motion for a new trial. DRHA argued in court filings that a new trial was warranted because “Carnell’s witnesses gave false evidence” at trial, Kiser stated in his ruling.


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