Better Roads Staff
In its second ruling in 2012, the appellate court held there was competent evidence to support the award of $194,000 to Southern. The court found that Southern’s itemized damages, in spreadsheet format, was adequate to support its claimed damages. The spreadsheet included detailed lists of the amount of materials used, the unit cost of the materials, when the materials were expended, the amount and rate of man-hours utilized, and on which dates. As a result, the appeals court determined that Southern properly used July 1, 2007, its start date, the calculation represented its actual costs, and the calculation properly included only material, labor and costs.
The Southern Seeding case illustrates the importance of reading and understanding all contract provisions, including provisions that appear to conflict. Where possible, most courts will attempt to harmonize a contract to give meaning to all provisions. In addition, this case also shows the importance of thoroughly documenting increased costs. Here, Southern’s detailed documentation of its increased costs — in spreadsheet format — provided the seeds that resulted in an award of 100 percent of the amount sought by Southern.
Brian Morrow is a partner in Newmeyer & Dillion LLP, a California law firm. He is also a licensed California civil engineer, and specializes in construction law, including road and heavy construction. Contact at email@example.com
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