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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:William Kent Akins was president of All Seasons Window and Door Manufacturing Inc. The business leased the property for its building from Akins himself. Akins contracted with Red Dot Corp. to build a metal building on the property to expand All Seasons’ operations. Akins agreed to see to the completion of the building with concrete, electrical, plumbing and other finishing operations. Akins and Red Dot signed a change order on March 5, 2001, for a total cost of $400,771. The contract stated that interest on any disputed payment amount would be at the maximum rate allowed by law. Pursuant to the contract, Akins paid 10 percent of the contract price upon signing, plus $218,300 for delivery of materials on Sept. 14. Though construction was supposed to begin Aug. 14, which is when materials were first delivered, Red Dot did not begin until a week later, due to rain delays. During the construction process, All Seasons had to spend $38.56 for extra bolts that Red Dot failed to provide. Other problems arose during the construction period, too, and the building was not erected until Oct. 24, even though Akins insisted that construction should have been completed in late August. Red Dot invoiced Akins for $143,839. Akins did not immediately pay. Red Dot had to come back to tighten bolts and make repairs, which it did on Dec. 11, and Akins tendered a check for $138,873 on Dec. 12. Akins’ marked his check “payment in full,” informing Red Dot that the reduced amount was due to increased security costs caused by delays in construction and other problems. Red Dot would not accept the check, and Akins would not remove the “payment in full” language. Red Dot then filed a mechanic’s lien on the building and sought 18 percent interest on the invoice. Akins then sued Red Dot for usury, to quiet title, for breach of contract and for harassment. Finding that Akins signed the contract in his individual capacity, the trial court ruled that Akins breached the contract. In its findings of fact and conclusions of law, the trial court found that Red Dot was justified in refusing the “payment in full” check; that it had been paid only a total of $256,932 of the $400,771 due; and that the contract was ambiguous as to what capacity Akins signed the contract in. The trial court also found that the contract allowed Red Dot to charge 10 percent interest, but that Red Dot had not committed usury by charging 18 percent. The trial court rendered judgment for Red Dot for $143,800 in actual damages, and $33,921 in contract interest. The court also awarded attorneys’ fees, plus post-judgment interest and costs. Akins and All Seasons appeal, and Red Dot cross-appeals. HOLDING:Affirmed in part; reversed in part; modified in part. The court first establishes that All Seasons has standing to appeal. Even though All Seasons was not a party to the contract, it nonetheless has a particularized injury distinct from that suffered by the general public, that is, the $38.56 in had to pay for the bolts Red Dot did not deliver. The court then discusses the issue raised by Red Dot, that the interest charged under the contract was more than the 10 percent found by the trial court. The court explains that when a contract does not specify a rate of interest, the statutory rate of 6 percent, under Finance Code �302.002, will apply. This is not such a case here because, even though a numerical value wasn’t specified, the contract nonetheless said that the maximum rate allowed by law would apply. When the parties have agreed to a rate of interest that can be determined by reasonable calculations, as is the case here, �302.002 is inapplicable. Instead, �302.001 states that the maximum rate allowed is 10 percent, “except as otherwise provided by law.” So, in this case, 10 percent would be appropriate unless some other law allows for a higher rate. The court explains what it calls the optional rate ceilings provided under �302.001 like this: “Unless a higher rate is allowed by another law, . . . the scheme includes a minimum ceiling, which applies if the floating ceiling is lower than the minimum ceiling, and a maximum ceiling, which applies if the floating ceiling is higher than the maximum ceiling.” Under the optional rate ceilings, the highest amount authorized by Texas law is at least 18 percent, according to Finance Code �303.002. Red Dot did not prove the ceiling was 18 percent under the Finance Code, however, an 18 percent rate is also allowed by Property Code �28.004, which does not require evidence of ceilings or minimums. The trial court erred in finding that the interest rate on the contract was only 10 percent, the court rules, because the maximum allowed by law was 18 percent under the Property Code. Having found that 18 percent interest applies, the court then addresses when the interest began to accrue: on Oct. 24, as Red Dot argues, or on Dec. 11 as Akins argues and as the trial court found, even though the trial court also found that construction on the building was completed on Oct. 24. The court finds sufficient evidence (though not unchallenged) to support the finding that the building was completed on Oct. 24, so the trial court’s finding that interest accrued on Dec. 11 was erroneous. Under the contract, final payment was due upon completion: Oct. 24. Based on the discussion above about why 18 percent was allowed under the law, the court rejects Akins’ argument on appeal that the trial court erred in finding that Red Dot did not commit usury. The court also finds that because materials were delivered Aug. 14 and construction was completed on Oct. 24, Red Dot could charge the 18 percent interest during this period. The court agrees with All Seasons and Akins that the trial court erred in deducting $38.56 from the amount owed by Akins, as All Seasons and Akins are separate entities. The court then finds that the trial court did not err in awarding attorneys’ fees at a rate in excess of $250 per hour. The trial court did err that Red Dot did not prove it was entitled to the rate and amount it charged for paralegal fees, so the court modifies the attorneys’ fee award by $2,377. The court upholds the rest of the trial court’s findings on attorneys’ fees. OPINION:Carter, J.; Morriss, C.J., Ross and Carter, JJ.

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