Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Education Law
Shea v. State
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's complaint against the State alleging that Nevada's system of public education had failed its students, holding that Plaintiff's claims were nonjusticiable.Appellants - nine parents of students attending public schools in the districts of Clark, Washoe, and White Pine Counties - sued State education agencies and officials alleging that Nevada's system of public education failed to achieve the standards that she argued were required for a sufficient, basic education under Nev. Const. art. 11, 1,2 and 6. In dismissing the complaint, the district court determined that the claims presented nonjusticiable political questions. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellants' complaint did not present justiciable questions appropriate for adjudication. View "Shea v. State" on Justia Law
Restore Construction Co., Inc. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209
Restore was asked to mitigate and repair significant fire damage at Proviso East High School, having provided similar service to the District in the past. The District’s customary practice when contracting for repair and payment of losses covered by insurance was to proceed without a recorded vote of its Board. The fire loss was covered by insurance. The District’s superintendent executed contracts with Restore.The District was subject to the School District Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) and Emergency Financial Assistance Law (105 ILCS 5/1B-1) and the Financial Oversight Panel Law (105 ILCS 5/1H-1). The FOP’s chief fiscal officer attended construction meetings and approved numerous subcontracts, quotations, bids, sales orders, change orders, and invoices. Although there was no recorded vote, “a majority of the Proviso Board knew and informally approved" the work. Restore was paid by the insurers for all but $1,428,000. Restore sued, seeking recovery from the District based on quantum meruit. The District argued that it had no obligation to pay because the contracts had not been let out for bid and approved by a majority vote as required by the School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1).The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of the case following dismissal. The failure of a governmental unit to comply with required contracting methods is not fatal to a plaintiff’s right to recover based on quasi-contract or implied contract principles. The Board was subject to the FOP; the FOP was fully apprised of and approved the work. Any misconduct was on the part of the Board; allowing Restore to recover presents no “risk of a raid on the public treasury.” View "Restore Construction Co., Inc. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209" on Justia Law
SummerHill Winchester LLC v. Campbell Union School District
In 2012, the Campbell Union School District (CUSD) Governing Board enacted a fee on new residential development under Education Code section 17620. The fee, $2.24 per square foot on new residential construction, was based on a study that projected that “it will cost the District an average of $22,039 to house each additional student in new facilities.” This figure was based on a projected $12.8 million cost to build a new 600-student elementary school and a projected $24.4 million cost to build a new 1,000-student middle school. SummerHill owns a 110-unit residential development project in Santa Clara, within CUSD’s boundaries. In 2012 and 2013, SummerHill tendered to CUSD under protest development fees of $499,976.96. The trial court invalidated the fee and ordered a refund of SummerHill’s fees. The court of appeal affirmed, holding that the fee study did not contain the data required to properly calculate a development fee; it failed to quantify the expected amount of new development or the number of new students it would generate, did not identify the type of facilities that would be necessary to accommodate those new students, and failed to assess the costs associated with those facilities. View "SummerHill Winchester LLC v. Campbell Union School District" on Justia Law
California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc.
Education Code section 17406 authorizes school districts to use lease-leaseback agreements for construction or improvement of school facilities: the school district leases its own real property to a contractor for a nominal amount, and the contractor agrees to construct or improve school facilities on the property and lease the property and improvements back to the district. At the end of the lease-leaseback agreement, title to the project vests in the school district. California Taxpayers Network brought a reverse validation action (Code Civ. Proc. 863), challenging a lease-leaseback agreement between Mount Diablo School District and Taber Construction, alleging that the Education Code requires “genuine lease-leaseback agreements,” which “provide for financing of the school facility project over time,” but defendants’ lease-leaseback contracts were “sham leases”; that the contracts were illegal because a public bidding process is required for school construction projects; and that Taber provided professional preconstruction services to the District regarding the project before entering the lease-leaseback contracts. The court of appeals affirmed dismissal of claims "that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction" that are not part of the Education Code. The court reversed in part, holding that the plaintiff did state a conflict of interest claim against Taber sufficient to withstand a demurrer. View "California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc." on Justia Law
Byrne & Jones Enters., Inc. v. Monroe City R-1 Sch. Dist.
Byrne & Jones Enterprises, Inc. filed an action against Monroe City R-1 School District alleging that it was denied a fair and equal opportunity to compete in the bidding process for a public works contract to build an athletics stadium. The trial court dismissed the petition, concluding that Byrne & Jones, as an unsuccessful bidder, lacked standing to challenge the school district’s award of the contract to another bidder because it did not bring the action in the interest of the public or as a taxpayer. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Byrne & Jones had standing to challenge the award of the contract to another bidder; but (2) the trial court did not err in dismissing the petition because Byrne & Jones was not entitled to the relief requested in the petition. View "Byrne & Jones Enters., Inc. v. Monroe City R-1 Sch. Dist." on Justia Law
McGee v. Balfour Beatty Constr.
Education Code section 17406 governs lease-leaseback construction agreements. Plaintiffs filed suit alleging that the lease-leaseback agreements entered into by defendants were a sham to avoid the competitive bid process and are therefore void. The court concluded that the trial court properly sustained the demurrer to all causes of action alleging the district was required to obtain competitive bids where competitive bids were not required under section 17406. The court also concluded that the trial court should have overruled the demurrer to the conflict of interest cause of action for violation of Government Code section 1090 where, at this early stage in the proceedings, section 1090 may apply. The court rejected defendants' arguments that plaintiffs lack standing to raise the issue and that section 1090 always excludes all independent contractors. Finally, the court concluded that the sanctions against plaintiffs' attorney must be reversed because the litigation is not frivolous. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part. View "McGee v. Balfour Beatty Constr." on Justia Law
Davis v. Fresno Unified Sch. Dist.
Plaintiff filed suit challenging a noncompetitive bid contract between Fresno Unified and Contractor for the construction of a middle school, alleging that the project should have been competitively bid because the lease-leaseback arrangement did not create a true leaseback or satisfy the criteria for the exception in section 17406 of the Education Code. The trial court sustained demurrers filed by Fresno Unified and Contractor. The court concluded that the competitive bidding process required by section 17417 is subject to the exception contained in section 17406 and plaintiff adequately alleged three grounds for why section 17406’s exception did not apply to the lease-leaseback arrangement. The court also concluded that Government Code section 1090’s prohibition of such conflicts extends to corporate consultants. Plaintiff has stated a violation of Government Code section 1090 by alleging facts showing Contractor, as a consultant to Fresno Unified, participated in the making of a contract in which Contractor subsequently became financially interested. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment. View "Davis v. Fresno Unified Sch. Dist." on Justia Law
Bldg. Materials Corp. of Am. v. Bd. of Educ.
For some years, the Board of Education of Baltimore County belonged to a governmental group purchasing consortium, which competitively bid a roofing services contract on behalf of its members. The Board relied on that contact to fulfill its needs for roofing repair services. Appellant Building Materials Corporation of America, a nationwide manufacturer of roofing materials, questioned the Board's authority for that practice under the pertinent statutes. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the Board. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that when viewed in the context of the entire education law and regulations promulgated under that law, the competitive bidding statute did not bar the Board from using its membership in an intergovernmental purchasing consortium for the procurement of roofing repair services. View "Bldg. Materials Corp. of Am. v. Bd. of Educ." on Justia Law
Greene Cty. Sch. Dist. v. Circle Y Construction, Inc.
Circle Y filed a complaint alleging, among other things, breach of contract when the school district terminated a construction management services contract with Circle Y. The trial court denied the school district's motion to dismiss and the court of appeals affirmed. The court held that, in light of the determination by the court of appeals that the trial court correctly denied the motion to dismiss because Circle Y's complaint alleged facts that, when taken as true, established that the contract was not void as a matter of law due to voter approval of the educational local option sales tax, it was not necessary for the court of appeals to construe OCGA 20-2-506(h) in order to resolve the appeal. Accordingly, the court remanded to the court of appeals with direction that it vacate that portion of the Division order that addressed OCGA 20-2-506. View "Greene Cty. Sch. Dist. v. Circle Y Construction, Inc." on Justia Law
Forest Grove School District v. T.A.
Appellant, a former student in the Forest Grove School District ("Forest Grove"), appealed the district court's determination that he was not entitled to an award of reimbursement for his private school tuition under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA"), 20 U.S.C. 1415(i)(2)(C). At issue was whether the district court abused its discretion in holding that equitable considerations did not support any award of private-school tuition at Mount Bachelor Academy as a result of Forest Grove's failure to provide appellant with a Free and Appropriate Education ("FAPE") under the IDEA. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the district court's factual determination where appellant's parents enrolled him at Mount Bachelor solely because of his drug abuse and behavioral problems.