Mel Brooks in the movie History of the World: Part I (1981) said it best – “It’s good to be the King.” (See short movie clip.)
It’s also true when asserting claims against the State or an arm/agent of the State.
Whereas the State or a County may enter into contracts, their liability is limited solely to the terms of that contract. Similarly, liability of a contracting State is limited to breach of the contract and typically excludes claims or remedies outside the scope of the contract.
In a recent example, the Contractor agreed to make alterations and additions to a Public School’s facility. After delays and extra costs arose, the Contractor alleged two counts of breach of contract and one count each of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. The Court dismissed the two latter counts by reviewing and applying the history and basis for the County’s sovereign immunity as an arm of the Commonwealth.
Contractors should style claims within the contract provisions. There is virtually no remedy against the State outside the contract. (See related post.)
Akian, Inc. and Penn. Nat’l. Mutual Casualty Ins. Co. v. Spotsylvania County Public Schools, 2018 Va. Cir. Lexis 329, CL18-2439 (Spotsylvania County Cir. Ct., Sep., 21, 2018).
Roads & Bridges | Written Notice
WRITTEN NOTICE | Beware that strict compliance of the contract might be required.
When an owner replaced a contractor for significant safety violations, […]
Roads & Bridges | Mommie Dearest
MOMMY DEAREST | The story of an ESA without a MOM
Nobody enters this world, or a contract, without a mother: There can […]
IIJA | Does Closing a “Giant Loophole” Cost Contractors?
A recent article published by Roads and Bridges magazine reports that the Office of Management and Budget is working to broaden the scope […]
Roads & Bridges | Buy American Plan Gets an Update
BUY AMERICAN PLAN GETS AN UPDATE
The Office of Management and Budget is developing standards to replace the current Buy […]
Roads & Bridges
Where Does the Buck Stop?
WHERE DOES THE BUCK STOP? | A shallow concrete pour leads to an interesting lawsuit
On the desk of President Harry S. Truman […]
Roads & Bridges | Reshaping Agreements
RESHAPING AGREEMENTS | Oral Agreements Must Be Written in Stone
Reuse, reshaping, and/or reapplication of existing materials was the goal in this roadway […]
Pay-If-Paid Unenforceable in Virginia Starting Jan. 1, 2023
As of Jan. 1, 2023, pay-if-paid clauses are unenforceable, regardless of whether a surety/payment bond claim is involved. This is only for […]
How Short is Too Short
A limitations period is too short when it’s unreasonably short.
Construction Contracting Without Relief Clauses During COVID-19
What to do if your contract lacks the parts to handle COVID-19? Considerations for creating new contracts during COVID-19.
Jonathan J. Straw
Partner | KraftsonCaudle.com
Download Jon’s Bio