Unpublished Disposition, 935 F.2d 277 (9th Cir. 1986)Annotate this Case
UNITED STATES of America, for the Use and Benefit of J.ARLIE BRYANT, INC., a Washington corporation,Plaintiff-Appellee,v.WHITE BUFFALO CONSTRUCTION, INC., et al., Defendant-Appellant.
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
Submitted June 4, 1991.* Decided June 13, 1991.
Before EUGENE A. WRIGHT, FARRIS and DAVID R. THOMPSON, Circuit Judges.
White Buffalo Construction, Inc. ("White Buffalo") appeals the district court's judgment in favor of J. Arlie Bryant, Inc. ("Bryant") in Bryant's action under the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. §§ 270a-270d. White Buffalo contends the district court erred in its interpretation of a subcontract agreement between White Buffalo and Bryant. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, and we affirm.
Paragraph IX(b) (1) of the subcontract agreement required Bryant to maintain liability insurance coverage of $3 million for at least "two years after completion of the Principal Contract." Paragraph IX(b) (2), however, allowed Bryant to cancel its liability insurance coverage after "completion of the work, without written consent of contractor." Paragraph 4 of the agreement required Bryant to complete its work "in no event (unless an extension is granted to [Bryant] later than Nov. 18, 1986." Paragraph 4 of the agreement's "Special Conditions," however, provided that Bryant "shall commence and complete his work within approximately two and one-half months."
The district court reviewed the provisions of the subcontract agreement, heard testimony, and considered the parties' exhibits. After considering this evidence, the district court concluded that the agreement unambiguously gave Bryant the right to cancel the required liability insurance when its work on the project was completed, and that Bryant's completion of all work on the project some twelve days beyond the November 18, 1986 date was "within approximately two and one-half months" as permitted by the contract.
Because the district court relied on extrinsic evidence in interpreting the subcontract agreement, "its interpretation of the contract will not be reversed unless it is clearly erroneous." In re United States Fin. Sec. Litig., 729 F.2d 628, 632 (9th Cir. 1983).
The district court's interpretation of the contract was not clearly erroneous. The evidence established that the language giving Bryant the right to cancel liability insurance coverage upon "completion of the work," and the language permitting completion of the work "within approximately two and one-half months" was added to the agreement at Bryant's request and modified the earlier provisions pertaining to insurance coverage and the November 18, 1986 completion date. In interpreting the contract, the district court sufficiently considered all relevant evidence. The court was not required to hear evidence as to White Buffalo's unilateral understanding, nor did the court fail to consider applicable provisions of the subcontract agreement.