Klein & Wilson

After 3 years, Tustin Unified and city settle construction dispute

For nearly three years, the city of Tustin and Tustin Unified have been locked in a legal disagreement over construction projects at Tustin High and Heritage School. The construction litigation centered on the timing of the project and the city's fees and grading requirements.

Alleging that the construction projects were being delayed unnecessarily, Tustin Unified sued the city in February 2010. They argued that the city's fees and grading rules were holding up the project. The city, however, fought back. It countersued a month later saying that the district needed to approve the plans before grading work could start.

Now, nearly three years later, both projects have been completed and the two entities have managed to come to an agreement. In 10 pages, the agreement details how school construction projects will be handled over the next 15 years. There are currently no projects on the books that would involve the agreement.

Despite that, Tustin Unified and the city made an agreement about who will be financially responsible for certain aspects of future construction projects. Tustin Unified will pay the grading fees for the city as well as give the city its grading plans. In turn, the city will only review the grading plans twice to keep things moving. Both entities have stated that they are pleased with the agreement.

As this situation shows, construction projects can raise a number of issues when things don't go as planned. However, this case also shows that there are ways to come to an agreement that can make future situations run more smoothly. Businesses or other entities that are involved in construction projects may find it helpful to seek advice from an experienced attorney who can help explain the various legal options available in your specific case.

Source: Orange County Register, "Tustin Unified and city settle legal battle," Elysse James, Jan. 29, 2013

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