PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A circuit judge didn’t err in a disagreement over a remodeling contract for a Black Hills cabin, according to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

The justices found no reason to overturn any of the decisions in Suvada v. Muller. The court publicly released its unanimous opinion Thursday.

George and Christine Muller contracted with carpenter Ed Suvada in 2016 to renovate their cabin in the Deadwood area. Suvada completed most but not all of the work by the contract deadline. The Mullers hired another contractor to finish up.

The contract called for the Mullers to pay Suvada $131,600.00 plus tax for the material and labor. The Mullers withheld $2,690, claiming the work wasn’t complete. Suvada claimed they had him work on items that weren’t in the contract.

Suvada brought a materialmen’s lien against the Mullers to recover for material and labor and he also sought damages for breach of contract. The Mullers counter-claimed for breach of contract and fraud.

Suvada sought $16,389.35 and a Lawrence County jury awarded $8,049.99 for his claims. The Mullers sought $35,620.55 and the jury awarded them $28,505.22 for their breach of contract claim.

Circuit Judge Eric Strawn denied both sides’ claims for attorney fees and costs and set off the verdicts. The result was a $20,455.23 judgment for the Mullers, plus prejudgment and post-judgement interest.

Suvada appealed. Justice Scott Myren authored the opinion upholding Judge Strawn’s actions.

“The language of the parties’ written contract is controlling. It required that Suvada ‘substantially complete[ ]’ the contracted work ‘on or before the 31st day of May, 2017,’ and by its express terms, ‘[t]he parties agree[d] that time is of the essence.’ Suvada admitted he did not complete the project on time. Moreover, there is no evidence that the parties agreed, orally or in writing, to extend this deadline,” Justice Myren wrote.

He said Suvada failed to show proof of an oral agreement that the Mullers would pay him for additional work that wasn’t covered in the contract.

“Suvada admitted that he never completed the work required under the contract or the ‘extras’ for which he sought payment. Further, even though the Mullers had paid Suvada for some ‘extras,’ they withheld full payment under the contract and did not pay the money requested by Suvada for his time spent on other ‘extras.’ In the absence of evidence that the parties had fully executed an oral agreement to modify the written contract to require payment for ‘extras,’ Suvada was bound by the terms of the written contract,” Justice Myren wrote.