Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Bogus Crossclaims Can't Block Attachment

Lydig Const. v. Martinez Steel Corp., No. D066854 (D4d1 Feb. 26, 2015)

The case is a government contact construction dispute where a contractor alleges that its steel supplier didn’t get work done on time. The contractor moved for a pretrial writ of attachment. The supplier filed a cross-complaint which, if successful, would have completely offset the contractor’s damages. The supplier argued that the cross-claim precluded attachment, but the trial court disagreed and entered a writ for about $200k.


The court of appeal affirms. A writ of attachment can be issued when the plaintiff has a contractual claim for a readily ascertainable sum more than $500. Under Code of Civil Procedure § 483.010, the movant needs come forward with evidence establishing that: (1) that the claim is a proper claim for attachment; (2) the probably validity of the claim; (3) that the attachment is not sought for some ulterior purpose; and (4) that the amount to be secured is more than zero. On the fourth element, under § 483.015, the amount to be secured must be offset by any amount sought in a cross-complaint if that claim is one upon which an attachment could issue. The relevant precedents
gloss on the statute requires the cross-claimant to come forward with at least prima facie evidence on the merits of its claims in order to get setoff credit.

Here, the supplier didn’t submit credible evidence showing the merit of its cross-claims, so it was not entitled to the setoff. The contractor, on the other hand, did establish the probable validity of its claims. So the writ properly issued.


Affirmed.

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