Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Appellant city sought review of the decision of the City and County of San Francisco Superior Court (California), which granted summary adjudication in favor of respondent contractor in a breach of contract action.

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Overview

Appellant city sought review of the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of respondent contractor in a breach of contract action. Appellant awarded respondent a contract to construct a project. When problems developed with the project, respondent served appellant with a claim asking for damages for breach of contract. Appellant cross-complained and filed a cause of action under Cal. Gov’t Code § 12650 et seq. The court granted summary adjudication in favor of respondent. On appeal, the court held that appellant could prosecute a judicial action under the § 12650 et seq. based on that same contract claim, and that respondent’s claim was not privileged under Cal. Civ. Code § 47(b) just because it was submitted to appellant in anticipation of litigation. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court’s judgment.

Outcome

The court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication in favor of the respondent contractor. The court held that when respondent public contractor delivered a contract claim for overages to appellant city, the claim did not become privileged simply because respondent submitted it in anticipation of litigation against appellant, and appellant could properly counterclaim based on the respondent’s contract claim.