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Katsura V. City of San Buenaventura

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Yoshiro KATSURA, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. CITY OF SAN BUENAVENTURA, Defendant and Respondent.

No. B190630.

-- August 15, 2007

COUNSEL: Corporate Counsel Law Group LLP, Michael A. Sawamura for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Robert G. Boehm, Christopher G. Norman for Defendant and Respondent.


Few construction projects go from start to finish without a change. It could be a change in the work, a change in the price, or a change in the schedule. Usually, there are changes to more than one, and often more than one change.

In Katsura v. City of San Buenaventura, the Second Appellate District of the Court of Appeal held that a contractor who fails to follow the procedures specified in a public works contract for obtaining authorization for extra work may not recover the cost of such wok, even if the work was requested and authorized by city officials.


Here is the factual background taken exactly for the certified publication:

On January 18, 2000, Katsura entered into an engineering consultant contract with the City. Under the terms of the contract, the maximum amount the City would pay for the services was $18,485. The contract required that any modifications were only to be made by mutual written consent of the parties. The contract was signed by the City's public works director and Katsura.

Paragraph 8(F) of the contract authorized "special work" as follows: "The Public Works Director is authorized to make payments up to $1,850 for special items of work not included in the project scope. Payments for special work will only be made after issuance of a written notice to proceed signed by the City Engineer for the specific special tasks. A written scope of work, an agreed upon additional fee, a schedule for starting and completing the special tasks, and an agreed upon extension of the time for performance, if necessary to allow for performance of the special work, shall be required prior to issuance of the notice to proceed for special work. All special work shall be subject to all other terms and provisions of this Agreement."

Katsura submitted his first invoice to the City for $2,943.25 for work performed under the contract during the period January 13, 2000, to April 28, 2000. The City paid the invoice in full.

On February 8, 2001, Katsura submitted his second invoice to the City for $12,621.75 for work performed during the period April 29, 2000, to February 4, 2001. The City paid



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