A Southeast Texas small business has won a major courtroom victory against a multi-national corporation, according to a recent press release.

Way Service Ltd., a family-owned heating, ventilation and air conditioning company located in Vidor, filed suit against MeadWestvaco Corp. in 2011, claiming breach of contract.

After an eight-day trial in Judge Tom Rugg’s Jefferson County 58th District Court, the local company was awarded more than $300,000.

According to court documents, Way Service had a contract with MeadWestvaco at its paper mill in Evadale. Way Service says the mill failed to pay its final five invoices for services it provided.

According to its website, MeadWestvaco is a global packaging company making products used in the food, beverage, tobacco, beauty, healthcare and home markets and provide specialty chemicals to the automotive and energy exploration industries. It has been in business more than 150 years and has 16,000 employees in 30 countries.

Way Service sought $325,00 for breach of contract, but then MeadWestvaco responded with a counter-claim of almost $1 million, according to the press release.

In its counterclaim, MeadWestvaco said it had discovered equipment problems that were the fault of Way Service.

Way denied the allegations, and responded that it had been denied the right to cure the allegedly defective work, claiming the mill owners would not allow Way Service to inspect the equipment and allowed the equipment to be discarded.

MeadWestvaco argued for damages of more than $600,000 and denied any liability under the breach of contract and quantum meruit claims.

However, on Aug. 21 a jury of eight men and four women deliberated about three-and-a-half hours and delivered a unanimous verdict in favor of Way Service.

Way was awarded $254,196 for outstanding invoices, a termination payment of $8,609, an award of compensable work time valued at $72,071, for a total of $334,876.

Beaumont attorney Jay Old was local counsel for Way Service, along with Lisa M. Norman of Andrews Myers PC in Houston.


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