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Appeal Court Decision 2

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Appeal Court Decision

Appellant surety contested the grant of summary judgment by the Superior Court of Contra Costa County (California) in favor of respondent subcontractor on respondent's claim for attorney fees pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3248 and 3250.

 

Overview: corporate lawyer

 

Respondent subcontractor brought an action against appellant surety on a public works payment bond for recovery of attorney fees incurred by respondent during court-ordered arbitration of respondent's claims that its general contractor withheld payment of sums due to respondent. Although respondent prevailed in the arbitration, the agreement between respondent and the general contractor provided that each would bear its own attorney fees and costs. Thereafter, respondent turned to appellant for recovery of the attorney fees pursuant to Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3248 and 3250. The court affirmed the award of fees in respondent's favor. It concluded that California's strong policy favoring mechanics, laborers and materialmen, as reflected in specific statutory provisions mandating the award of attorney fees to the prevailing party in an action on a public works payment bond, required an award of fees to respondent regardless of the agreement that respondent would bear its own fees following arbitration.

 

Outcome

The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment awarding respondent attorney fees because California's strong policy favoring mechanics, laborers and materialmen required an award of fees to respondent regardless of the agreement that respondent would bear its own fees following arbitration.


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