FTR v. Rio: Penalties Assessed Against School District for Withholding Contractor Funds
By Timothy L. Pierce and Benjamin Kussman, K&L Gates, Los Angeles
In East West Bank v. Rio School District, 235 Cal. App. 4th 742 (2015), the California Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s assessment of $1,537,404.96 in statutory penalties against the Rio School District (the “District”) for the District’s failure to timely release contractor funds pursuant to Public Contract Code Section 7107. The Court concluded, in what constitutes a departure from another recent Court of Appeals ruling interpreting the same statutory provision, that Section 7101 does not allow a public entity to withhold contractor retainage on the basis of a dispute over the cost of contract work.