Great West Contractors, Inc. v. WSS Ind. Constr., Inc., 162 Cal. App. 4th 581 (2008)
WSS Industrial Construction, a steel subcontractor, sued general contractor Great West Contractors, to recover for work performed on a public works project in Riverside, California. At the time that WSS submitted its bid proposal to Great West, WSS had applied for but not yet obtained a corporate contractor’s license. WSS did receive a license after the bid was accepted, but only after it had already ordered multiple sets of shop drawings and some of the material necessary for the project. WSS initiated the lawsuit by suing Great West and its surety, Fidelity and Deposit Company of Maryland, for $91,000 due under the contract and subsequent change orders.
At trial, Great West and Fidelity moved for a nonsuit on the grounds that WSS was statutorily barred, pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 7031, from any recovery because WSS was not duly licensed at all times during performance of the contract. The trial court determined that WSS’s president had held valid individual licenses at all times and that, in any event, WSS was not required to have a license for the work that it performed prior to receiving its license. The court held that “there was substantial compliance with the licensing during the contract and work was performed in good faith.” The jury awarded WSS $220,000 in damages, including statutory penalties and interest. Great West and Fidelity appealed after the court rejected their post-trial motions for a new trial, vacation of judgment and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Read More