Crib Retaining Walls, Inc. v. NBS Lowry, Inc – Case Brief Summary (California)

In Crib Retaining Walls, Inc. v. NBS/Lowry, Inc. (1996) 47 Cal.App.4th 886, the plaintiffs filed a construction defect lawsuit against Crib Retaining Walls, Inc., which cross-complained against NBS/Lowry, Inc., seeking equitable indemnity and contribution. (Id. at p. 888.)

The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint adding NBS as a defendant. NBS eventually settled with the plaintiffs, then obtained both approval of the settlement as being in good faith under Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6 and a dismissal of Crib's indemnity cross-complaint. (Crib Retaining Walls, Inc. v. NBS/Lowry, Inc., supra, at p. 889.)

The trial court's denial of costs to NBS was reversed. The appellate court found that NBS was a party in whose favor a dismissal was entered and was therefore entitled to costs as a matter of right. (Id. at p. 890.) Quoting from Rappenecker v. Sea-Land Service, Inc. (1979) 93 Cal. App. 3d 256, the court cautioned against engrafting exceptions onto the clear language of Code of Civil Procedure section 1032: " 'One should not read into the statute allowing costs a restriction which has not been placed there. "In general, a court should not look beyond the plain meaning of a statute when its language is clear and unambiguous, and there is no uncertainty or doubt as to the legislative intent. " ' " (Crib Retaining Walls, Inc. v. NBS/Lowry, Inc., supra, at p. 890.)