Contract Dispute Between California County And Construction Company

On behalf of The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai, A Professional Corporation posted in Contract Disputes on Friday, April 20, 2012.

Contract disputes are certainly not uncommon, especially between governmental bodies and private entities. Recently, one such contract dispute arose in California between Fresno County and a construction company. At the heart of the matter is a disagreement about what kind of cleanup is called for under the terms of their contract.

Fresno County had contracted with the company to build a new bridge over the Kings River, but although the bridge has been reopened and construction was due to end in January, six miles of the river it crosses remains closed. The river is a popular waterway for rafters and fishermen, and its continued closure has caused significant problems for some.

The problem has to do with steel beams that were placed in the river floor to aid construction of the new bridge. Most of those beams were removed, but portions remain buried under the floor of the river. The county maintains that this creates a river hazard while the company has asserted that they pose no danger.

Removing the beams would reportedly cost $500,000, whereas the entire amount of the construction project was for $4 million. As neither side can agree whether or not removing the beams is part of the required cleanup, the California county is considering taking legal action over the contract dispute. Here, though, a properly drafted contract that explicitly laid out the terms for the cleanup may have been able to avoid the dispute. Absent that, if the contract includes an arbitrator provision, it may yet be possible to avoid the costly impact that litigation can bring.

Source: Fresno Bee, "Construction dispute keeps stretch of Kings River closed," Kurtis Alexander, April 15, 2012

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