58 Cal.2d 565, 20906, Stigall v. City of Taft

Docket Nº:20906
Citation:58 Cal.2d 565, 25 Cal.Rptr. 441, 375 P.2d 289
Opinion Judge:[12] White
Party Name:Stigall v. City of Taft
Attorney:[7] Mack, Bianco, King & Eyherabide, Dominic Bianco and H. C. Mack, Jr., for Plaintiff and Appellant. [8] Stanley Mosk, Attorney General, and Dan Kaufmann, Assistant Attorney General, as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiff and Appellant. [9] Henry G. Baron, Borton, Petrini, Conron, Brown & Condle...
Case Date:October 23, 1962
Court:Supreme Court of California
 
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Page 565

58 Cal.2d 565

25 Cal.Rptr. 441, 375 P.2d 289

Owen STIGALL, Jr., Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

CITY OF TAFT et al., Defendants and Respondents.

S. F. 20906.

Supreme Court of California

Oct. 23, 1962.

In Bank

Page 566

Mack, Bianco, King & Eyherabide, Dominic Bianco and H. C. Mack, Jr., Bakersfield, for plaintiff and appellant.

Stanley Mosk, Atty. Gen., and Dan Kaufmann, Asst. Atty. Gen., amici curiae on behalf of plaintiff and appellant.

Henry G. Baron, Taft, Borton, Petrini, Conron, Brown & Condley, James Petrini and J. Richard Thomas, Bakersfield, for defendants and respondents.

Henry B. Ely, Los Angeles, amicus curiae on behalf of defendants and respondents.

WHITE, Justice.

This is an appeal by plaintiff from a judgment of dismissal entered upon demurrers to the complaint which were sustained without leave to amend. Plaintiff seeks a declaration of the invalidity of a certain contract for plumbing work to be perfcrmed by the defendant Taft Plumbing Company, Inc., for the defendant City of Taft.

Plaintiff, a taxpayer of the City of Taft, alleges in his complaint that Glenn D. Black was a member of the city

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council and was in charge of the council's building committee of the City of Taft for several years prior to June 8, 1961; that the committee supervised the drawing of plans and specifications and the call for bids for the construction of a civic center; that during a portion of the times involved Councilman Black was also the owner of a plumbing business known as the Taft Plumbing Company and later the owner of more than three per cent of the shares of stock of the Taft Plumbing Company, Inc., after its incorporation; that in January 1961 bids were received and opened at a regular meeting of the city council; that the Taft Plumbing Company, Inc., was the low bidder for plumbing work; that several persons objected to the bids by the plumbing company on the ground that Glenn D. Black was a member of the council and its building committee; that the council thereupon elected to reject all bids and to readvertise for bids at a later date; that on June 5, 1961, new bids were received and opened at a regular meeting of the city council; that the Taft Plumbing Company, Inc., was again the low bidder for plumbing work; that a special meeting was called for June 8, 1961 for the purpose of awarding the contract for the civic center building; that on June 8, 1961, at said meeting, the resignation of Glenn D. Black as a member of the council was received and accepted, and that thereafter at said meeting the council voted to award the contract for construction of the civic center to the defendant Bakersfield Construction Company, which said contract included the sub-bid by the Taft Plumbing Company, Inc., for plumbing work.

The prayer asks that '* * * the contract of Taft Plumbing Company, Inc. * * * be declared void,' and that the city officials be restrained '* * * from disbursing or paying over to defendant, Taft Plumbing Company, any funds of the City of Taft on account of plumbing work performed on said Civic Center building.'

Demurrers to the complaint alleging that it failed to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action were filed by the various city officials named as defendants and the Taft Plumbing Company, Inc. The trial court, in sustaining the demurrers, stated: 'It appearing that the complaint cannot be amended to state a cause of action the demurrers are sustained without leave to amend and the action ordered dismissed.'

For purposes of ruling on the demurrers, of course, the allegations of the complaint pleaded in proper form are

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to be taken as true. (Katenkamp v. Union Realty Co., 6 Cal.2d 765, 769; Terry v. Bender, 143 Cal.App.2d 198, 201.) Plaintiff's sole contention for the invalidity of the contract, insofar as the subcontractor for plumbing work is concerned, is that because Black was an official of the city a conflict of interest existed which, under statutory law, prohibited the making of a valid contract as between him or his plumbing company and the city. No claim is made that actual improprieties were practiced by Black, the city or the various city officials in the submission or acceptance of the plumbing company's bid during Black's actual tenure of office or thereafter. Nor is it claimed that the contract is unfair or unjust or...

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