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Los Alamitos Unified School District v. Howard Contracting, Inc.

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Third Division

September 10, 2014

LOS ALAMITOS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
HOWARD CONTRACTING, INC., Defendant and Appellant.

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County No. 30-2012-00576703, Randell L. Wilkinson, Judge (retired judge of the Orange Super. Ct. assigned bye the Chief Justice pursuant to art. VI, § 6 of the Cal. Const.), and William M. Monroe, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Mahoney & Soll, Paul M. Mahoney and Richard A. Soll for Defendant and Appellant.

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, Martin A. Hom and Jennifer D. Cantrell for Plaintiff and Respondent.

OPINION

FYBEL, J.

Introduction

The primary issue presented by this appeal is a legal one: Does Education Code section 17406 exempt school districts from obtaining competitive bids when entering into what are known as “lease-leaseback” agreements to improve school property? We conclude the answer is yes. More than 40 years ago, the California Attorney General concluded the language of the statute is plain, unambiguous, and explicit, and does not impose bid requirements on school districts. We agree, and nothing has occurred in the interim that would change our conclusion.

Los Alamitos Unified School District (the District) filed an action to validate its lease-leaseback agreement with a contractor performing improvements on the track and athletic field of the District’s high school. Another contractor, Howard Contracting, Inc. (Howard), filed an answer, claiming the lease-leaseback agreement was unconstitutional, illegal, and invalid because the District did not obtain competitive bids for the project. The trial court did not err in granting the District’s motion for summary judgment, as the District was not required to obtain competitive bids under Education Code section 17406. We affirm the judgment in favor of the District.

We also conclude the trial court did not err by denying Howard’s motion to tax the costs of service of process. Howard has failed to provide any serious

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argument why the statutorily authorized costs of service were not properly awarded to the District as the prevailing party. We affirm the postjudgment order regarding costs.

Statement of Facts and Procedural History

The District entered into a lease-leaseback agreement with third party contractor Byrom-Davey, Inc., for a construction project involving upgrades and improvements to the District’s high school track and athletic field (the Project). The agreement ...


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