CACI No. 4511. Affirmative Defense - Contractor Followed Plans and Specifications

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2024 edition)

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4511.Affirmative Defense - Contractor Followed Plans and
[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] failed to [perform the
work for the [project/describe construction project, e.g., kitchen remodeling]
competently/ [or] use the proper materials for the [project/ e.g., kitchen
remodeling]]. [Name of defendant] claims that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun/it]
followed the plans and specifications and that [specify alleged defect in the
work or materials] was because of the plans and specifications that [name
of plaintiff] provided to [name of defendant] for the project.
To succeed on this defense, [name of defendant] must prove all the
1. That [name of plaintiff] provided [name of defendant] with the
plans and specifications for the project;
2. That [name of plaintiff] required [name of defendant] to follow the
plans and specifications in constructing the project;
3. That [name of defendant] substantially complied with the plans
and specifications that [name of plaintiff] provided for the project;
4. That [specify alleged defect in the work and/or deficiency in
performance] was because of [name of defendant]’s use of the plans
and specifications.
New December 2010
Directions for Use
This instruction is a contractors affirmative defense to the owners claims that there
is a defect in the work or deficiency in the contractors performance. (See CACI No.
4510, Breach of Implied Covenant to Perform Work in a Good and Competent
Manner - Essential Factual Elements.) The contractor asserts that any alleged defect
or deficient performance was caused by following the plans and specifications that
were provided by the owner because the plans and specifications were inaccurate or
incomplete. This instruction may be modified for use in the contractor’s action for
compensation from the owner if the owner alleges poor quality work as a defense to
Sources and Authority
“[T]he authorities hold that where the plans and specifications were prepared by
the owners architect and not by the subcontractor, and since the subcontractor
undertook to do the work in accordance with the specific proposal, it cannot
reasonably be concluded that the subcontractor assumed responsibility for the
adequacy of the plans and specifications to meet the purpose of the owner, and
where the contractor faithfully performs the work as specified, there cannot be
an implied warranty that the contractor will supplement the inadequacy of the
plans.” (Sunbeam Construction Co. v. Fisci (1969) 2 Cal.App.3d 181, 184-185
[82 Cal.Rptr. 446].)
“There is no basis for an implied warranty of fitness of the installation since the
work was done in accordance with the plans and specifications supplied by the
owner. . . . ‘In other words, as to the refrigerating plant, defendants got
precisely what they contracted for, and there was no implied warranty that the
machine would answer the particular purpose for which the buyers intended to
use it.’ (Corporation of Presiding Bishop of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Day Saints v. Cavanaugh (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 492, 508-509 [32 Cal.Rptr.
“[T]he contractors responsibility for any completed portion of the work, so done
under the direction and to the satisfaction of the engineers, relieves him from
responsibility for such an accident as that which befell. . . .” (McConnell v.
Corona City Water Co. (1906) 149 Cal. 60, 63 [85 P. 929].)
Secondary Sources
1 California Construction Contracts, Defects, and Litigation (Cont.Ed.Bar) Ch. 5,
Private Contracts: Disputes and Remedies, §§ 5.97, 5.98
3 Stein, Construction Law, Ch. 11, Remedies and Damages, 11.02 (Matthew
10 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 104, Building Contracts,
§§ 104.42, 104.254 (Matthew Bender)
Miller & Starr, California Real Estate 4th, §§ 27:99, 29:3 (Thomson Reuters)
Acret, California Construction Law Manual (6th ed.) § 1:79 (Thomson Reuters)
Bruner & O’Connor on Construction Law, § 9:83 (Thomson Reuters)
Gibbs & Hunt, California Construction Law (Aspen Pub. 16th ed. 1999) Ch. 5,
Breach of Contract by Contractor, § 5.01
4512-4519. Reserved for Future Use

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