Superior Court of California Rules in Favor of South San Francisco Unified School District in $25 Million Lawsuit

South San Francisco, CA  February 21, 2020 Submitted by Michael Harris (originated SSFUSD)

The San Francisco County Superior Court recently dismissed all claims against South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) by USS Cal Builders, Inc., which filed a lawsuit against the district in 2016 alleging more than $25 million in damages.

According to court documents, USS Cal Builders claimed that SSFUSD breached 15 contracts in connection with a 2010 bond program known as Measure J.In response, the district, which was represented by Dannis Woliver Kelley, brought a motion for summary judgment against USS Cal Builders.

In granting the district’s motion for summary judgement, the court concluded that the 15 contracts the construction company sued SSFUSD over are null and void, because:

  • The SSFUSD school board never formally approved or ratified the contracts that USS Cal Builders claimed the district was responsible for.
  • The Division of the State Architect (DSA) had not approved the construction documents, as required by law, before the contracts were executed.

The court also concluded that USS Cal Builders’ lawsuit against the district was filed beyond the statute of limitations for some of the contracts.

USS Cal Builders can still appeal the decision, but the fact that the San Francisco County Superior Court ruled in favor of SSFUSD on every issue could give the company pause.

“This is a complete victory for the district, and we are happy that the courts have vindicated us on the evidence presented,” said SSFUSD Superintendent Shawnterra Moore. “We have always striven to be fiscally responsible as a district, and we will continue to pursue our claims against USS Cal Builders in superior court on behalf of the taxpayers of South San Francisco.”

Taxpayers in 2010 approved $162 million in bonds for facility improvements at SSFUSD.

After an independent audit in 2015, the district halted payments to USS Cal Builders and later ended its relationship with the construction company.

SSFUSD subsequently contracted with K12 School Facilities in 2016 to manage the remaining projects slated for construction using Measure J bond funds.

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