State v. Ross Bros. & Co., Inc.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Appellate Procedure
  • Date Filed: 01-14-2015
  • Case #: A150551
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Ortega, P.J., for the Court; before Sercombe, J. & Hadlock, J.

When a party does not file an amended answer to an amended complaint, and fails to raise substantive legal arguments at trial, then they have not preserved those substantive legal arguments for appeal.

This appeal and cross-appeal arose out of a public works contract dispute between subcontractor (KT), a general contractor (Ross), and the general contractor’s bond surety (Safeco). In 2003, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) awarded a contract to Ross for renovation of the Depot Street Bridge on Interstate 5 in Jackson County. Ross subcontracted KT to provide temporary traffic signs, traffic control, and a pedestrian rail on the bridge. Delays in construction caused KT’s traffic control equipment to be used past the dates in the subcontract. Ross asked KT to submit claims for additional costs, and then denied KT’s claims. KT brought claims under the “Little Miller Act”, ORS 279C.380 to 279.625, against Safeco for payment on the bond and breach of contract claims against Ross.The trial court ruled KT should recover $239,300 on the quantum meruit claim against Ross, and entered a supplemental judgment for attorney’s fees and costs against Ross. The trial court did not address the Little Miller claim. KT appealed, Ross cross-appealed. The Court of Appeals held that because Ross never filed an amended answer to KT’s amended complaint, that they did not preserve their argument on cross-appeal. The Court also held in favor of KT's Little Miller claims against Safeco, and that they are not precluded from claims against Safeco because they prevailed in their quantum meruit claim against Ross. Judgement reversed and remanded on appeal, affirmed on cross-appeal; supplemental judgement affirmed on appeal and cross-appeal.

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