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A Los Osos contractor sues the county for $15 million

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LOS OSOS LAWSUIT:  ARB Inc., a major contractor for the Los Osos wastewater project, filed suit against the county on Feb. 26, seeking at least $15 million in damages, plus penalties and interest. - FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • FILE PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • LOS OSOS LAWSUIT: ARB Inc., a major contractor for the Los Osos wastewater project, filed suit against the county on Feb. 26, seeking at least $15 million in damages, plus penalties and interest.

Just as the contentious, drawn-out Los Osos wastewater project is heading toward completion, a major contractor working on the project—ARB Inc.—filed suit against the county on Feb. 26, claiming damages of “not less than $15,000,000, plus penalties and interest.”

The suit—filed by Rutan & Tucker LLP, an Orange County law firm based in Costa Mesa—includes four complaints against San Luis Obispo County: breach of contract, breach of implied warranty, breach of express warranty, and violation of statutory duties.

ARB—a Lake Forest-based construction firm—has been working under a $26.2 million contract with the county to complete work on the Los Osos sewer in Collection System Areas A and D.

“Plaintiff’s work on the Project was almost immediately impacted, changed, delayed, altered, and disrupted as a result of numerous differing conditions, inadequate, incorrect, and/or incomplete plans and specifications provided to Plaintiff by the County,” the lawsuit alleges. “The County has repeatedly refused to pay for the additional work necessitated by differing site conditions and documented plan errors.”

When reached for comment on the lawsuit, County Counsel Rita Neal said that the county was aware of the complaint, but believes it’s premature—as ARB is still working on the project.

“We will be preparing a response, and the Board of Supervisors discussed the lawsuit in closed session on March 18,” Neal told New Times. “At this point, we believe the allegations are overstated.”

SLO County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren declined to comment on the matter, as is departmental policy.

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