The statute forming a water district provided that any judicial action to attack or challenge the validity of a contract entered into by the water district had to be brought within 60 days of the contract’s effective date.  It also provided, however, that the district could bring an action pursuant to the state’s validation statutes.  Those statutes (Gov. Code 869) provide that a private party must bring any challenge to the validity of a public contract within 60 days, but a public entity is not barred from seeking a remedy to determine the validity of a contract thereafter.  Here, the water district sued to invalidate one of its own contracts under Gov. Code 1090 because one of the board members who approved the contract was in the pay of the contractor to promote approval of the contract.  Since the public agency filed the suit, it did not have to be brought within 60 days.  Nor was the suit barred by Gov. Code 1090’s general four year statute of limitations because the suit to invalidate the contract was filed as a cross-complaint to a different water district’s cross-complaint seeking to validate the same contract, and that cross-complaint was filed within the four-year time limit.  The first cross-complaint tolled the statute of limitations as to the second cross-complaint which dealt with the same subject matter.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 1 (Humes, P.J.); August 18, 2016; 2016 WL 4400452