Homeowner, As Third Party Beneficiary of Construction Contract, Entitled to Recover Attorney Fees Against Subcontractor.

In Loduca v. Polyzos (2007), 153 CA4th 334, the plaintiff property owner successfully sued a subcontractor for breach of the contract between the subcontractor and the general contractor as a third party beneficiary of the contract. The trial court awarded plaintiff attorney fees based on an attorney fees provision in the contract. Defendant subcontractor appealed the attorney fee award.
The Court of Appeal affirmed that under California Civil Code §1717(a), in an action on a contract that provides for attorney fees to the prevailing party, the party who prevails on the contract, whether or not that party is specified in the contract, may recover reasonable attorney fees. A third party beneficiary may enforce a contract made for his or her benefit. See Real Prop. Servs. Corp. v. City of Pasadena (1994), 25 CA4th 375, 382. It is undisputed that plaintiff was a third party beneficiary to the contract between defendant and the general contractor, and that the contract stated that “[i]f a court action is brought, prevailing partyto be awarded attorneys fees….” The broad language of this attorney fee clause entitles plaintiff to recover fees.
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