School district files objections to Signature case ruling
Pleasanton Unified hasn't decided whether it will appeal the judge's decision
The school district has filed objections to a judge's recent ruling in favor of Signature Properties over the construction of the city's 10th and final elementary school.
Through its attorneys, Stubbs & Leone of Walnut Creek, the Pleasanton Unified School District said it has objections to each of the 15 points listed in Judge George C. Hernandez's tentative ruling. Primarily, the district said it doesn't believe it should have to pay for design costs of the school, which Signature paid for, because the ruling declares the contract void and illegal.
Citing a 1942 Supreme Court case, Miller v. McKinnon, the district said "...(Signature) has no right of recovery for any 'damages' or 'restitution' of money spent in performance of a contract that has been declared void as Miller points out."
"The illegal (amended cooperative fee agreement to build Neal Elementary School) for all purposes and (Signature) cannot recover the almost $500,000 they claim to have spent as part of their performance of the (agreement), nor can the district recover the $4.1 million it expended to 'provide' (infrastructure for) the site," the objection continues.
In addition, the district said because the judge determined that the contract between the two parties is void since the project wasn't put out for public bidding, that Signature "cannot recover any 'damage,' 'restitution' or any other monetary relief from the district, including attorney's fees and costs."
In its last claim on the issue, the district said if it were to pay for attorney's fees for an invalid contract, it would be violating a constitutional prohibition against the gift of public funds.
In other objections, the district made a case for striking 14 of 15 points of the judge's tentative ruling from the record in an effort to preserve its right to a future jury trial, should it decide to appeal. If the judge has determined that the contract was illegal and void, the district said the other findings aren't relevant and are out of the scope of the judge's purview.
"Here, this court, having determined that no legal contract exists, is then without the power to interpret and pass judgment on that non-existent contract," the objection states. "As such, the court's remaining findings become immaterial surplusage (sic) that should not be made."
District spokeswoman Myla Grasso said this week that the district has not made a decision yet as to whether they will appeal the ruling.
A hearing date, called a case management conference, has been scheduled for July 18 at the Fremont Hall of Justice, where the case was heard last month.
"We're expecting a final written decision by the judge probably early next week, so the case management conference will be to discuss what's going to happen next based on that final decision from the judge; and of course, we don't know what that is," Grasso said.