Pacific Bell vs. Richmond American Homes


    Stephen Smith and Sung Ho (Sean) Kim obtained summary judgment on behalf of a construction contractor, Pouk & Steinle, Inc., in a lawsuit brought by Pacific Bell. Plaintiff, Pacific Bell, claimed that Pouk & Steinle caused or was responsible for damages of over $160,000 to its telecommunication cables while development and/or construction was ongoing along Harbor Boulevard, in Orange County. The alleged damages occurred on November 14, 2006, and on November 22, 2006.

    Defendant, Pouk & Steinle, contended that it was not responsible for the November 14, 2006, incident, because certified payroll records showed that Pouk & Steinle was not on-site and, thus, did not perform any work for the subject construction project from November 11, 2006 through November 19, 2006. Accordingly, the November 14, 2006, incident was not caused by Pouk & Steinle.

    With regard to the November 22, 2006, incident, Pouk & Steinle, was able to establish that another subcontractor was responsible for and/or caused that incident.

    Based on the foregoing, the court found that Pouk & Steinle sustained its initial substantive burden of proof, so the burden shifted to plaintiff to establish a triable issue of material fact. To meet this burden, plaintiff offered the declaration from another subcontractor, which relied on inadmissible hearsay. The court held that plaintiff failed to overcome its burden to create a triable issue of fact. Accordingly, summary judgment was granted in favor of Pouk & Steinle.

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