February 2014

Calistoga Case: Not Just Anyone Can Sue A City!

February 6, 2014, by Kevin P. McLaughlin

It is a fundamental concept in litigation that the party seeking relief must have some real, beneficial interest in the outcome of the case.  A plaintiff cannot sue a city or other public entity simply because he or she does not like a certain policy or practice; the plaintiff must have standing to bring the lawsuit, which may either be conferred by law or because the plaintiff has suffered some sort direct or indirect harm. A February 3 published decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal clarifies this concept further, finding that neither a plaintiff’s status as a payer of sales tax in a given area—nor as a state citizen seeking redress for past government misconduct—meet the requirements for bringing such an action.

AB 44: New Law Requires Contractors to List Subcontractor License Numbers on Bids

February 11, 2014, by Benjamin T. Reyes

Existing law under the Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act requires prime contractors bidding public construction projects to list the names and locations of each subcontractor performing work for a public works project.  The statute calls for contractors to identify each subcontractor performing more than one-half of one percent of the contractor’s total bid, or $10,000, whichever is greater.  (Public Contract Code Section 4104).

Court of Appeal Affirms the Discretion of a City in Waiving an Error in a Bid for a Public Works Project

February 14, 2014, by Eric S. Casher, Benjamin T. Reyes

Meyers Nave Principal Benjamin Reyes and Associate Eric Casher successfully defended the City of San Leandro ("City") in a legal challenge brought by a disappointed bidder in a major public works case.  On January 28, 2014, the Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed the decision of the City in waiving a bid defect in the case, Bay Cities Paving & Grading v. City of San Leandro, et. al.   The case was certified for publication on February 13, 2014.  There, the Court held that the City did not abuse its discretion by accepting an immaterial deviation in the low bidder's bid bond.  In applying the substantial evidence standard of review, the Court evaluated the City's actions and determined that it had properly complied with its procedures.  Accordingly, the Court did not second guess the City's decision in awarding the contract for the BART Pedestrian Interface Project to the low bidder, Gallagher & Burk, Inc.  

A School Employee and a School District May Be Sued For Showing A Report of Alleged Child Abuse to the Father

February 21, 2014, by Lillian K. Yoo

In a decision published November 18, 2013, the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, reversed the trial court’s determination that a school counselor and school district was immune from suit when a school counselor provided a copy of a report of suspected child abuse to the father.  The Court held that under the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) a mandated reporter must keep the report of known or suspected child abuse confidential and  may only disclose the information to specific agencies and individuals identified in the statute – the parent of the child is not included.