Although generally referred to as the “Tort Claims Act,” the California Supreme Court has made clear that the claims presentation of Government Code § 905 applies to claims for breach of contract.
The issue was presented to the court in City of Stockton v. Superior Court (Civic Partners). Civic claimed that Stockton’s Redevelopment Agency had breached a contract and violated Civic’s copyright to architectural plans. The trial court dismissed the copyright claim, holding that federal courts had exclusive jurisdiction over those issues. The trial court overruled the city’s demurrer to the contract claim, however, since it believed that the claims statute did not reach contract claims. Stockton challenged that ruling in a petition for writ of mandate. The appellate court agreed with the city and issued a writ ordering the trial court to sustain the demurrer.
On review, the California Supreme Court resolved a conflict in the courts of appeal by ruling that claims act (the court refers to it as the Government Claims Act to avoid confusion) applies to nearly all claims for money filed against a public entity.