Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff contractor appealed a summary judgment from the Superior Court of Sacramento County (California), which ruled that the contractor’s claim against defendant county for breach of contract stemming from a construction project was untimely under Gov. Code, § 911.2.

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Overview

The contractor informed the county that it had performed extra work. The county recorded a notice of completion and subsequently met with the contractor to review the additional claims. After receiving a final payment, the contractor sent a packet of information supporting its claim for additional compensation to the county’s engineer in charge of the project. The county issued a final acceptance of the project, did not acknowledge receipt of the materials sent to the engineer, and rejected the contractor’s resubmitted claim more than a year later as untimely. The court held that the county did not have to prove the exact date of accrual because the claim was formally submitted more than one year after the latest of the dates alternatively asserted by the county. A tolling argument under Pub. Contract Code, § 20104.2, was an improper change of theory on appeal and lacked merit because the final payment operated as a denial of outstanding claims. Sending materials to the engineer did not constitute substantial compliance because the engineer was not an officer authorized to receive claims under Gov. Code, § 915, subd. (a), and actual notice was not shown under § 915, subd. (d).

Outcome

The court affirmed the summary judgment for the county.

Author: Michle Smith