Procedural Posture

Defendant city appealed a judgment in favor of plaintiff dredging company by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) in plaintiff’s action for breach of contract.

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Overview

Pursuant to a written dredging contract, plaintiff entered into two subsequent oral agreements with defendant in which plaintiff ceased its dredging operations as directed by defendant but would be paid for the time lost by such cessation and defendant would reimburse plaintiff for extra transportation costs of dredged materials when it decided that plaintiff could not use its streets as originally agreed. Defendant’s council ratified and confirmed the contracts. Plaintiff brought an action when defendant refused to compensate it on the agreements. The trial court found in favor of plaintiff and awarded it the amounts on the contracts plus interest. On appeal, the court affirmed and held that the agreements, while made outside of a bidding process, were valid under defendant’s charter because they were made under emergency conditions and because the contracts were of such a nature that bidding would be impossible since plaintiff was the only party that could enter into such agreements. The court concluded that upon their ratification by the city council, the contracts became binding upon defendant. The court modified the judgment as to the interest awarded to plaintiff.

Outcome

The court affirmed judgment in favor of plaintiff but modified the judgment with respect to the interest awarded.

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