June 6, 1969
To: M3G 1I,^?O4 -
Re: Responsibility to reconstruct a damaged structure under
an "Operation and Maintenance" agreement.
Conclusion: One who assumes responsibility for the operation
and maintenance of a structure that is damaged is
responsible to repair or rebuild the structure.,..-.. i-,.
Reason: Under a contract requiring one to maintain" a bridge, ._
he is under a duty to replace parts damaged or destroyed.
Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. White County, Tennessee,5F.2d, -
10 b5, section 40, Corpus Juris Secumdum, also indicates that
the duty to rebuild a bridge on its destruction may be implied -
from the statutory or contractual duty to maintain or repair. /
In Tennessee Electric Power Co. v. White County, Tennessee,52F.2d, --
10 65, an electric company contended that a contract requiring
it to maintain a bridge did not obligate it to replace parts
damaged or swept away by an unprecedented flood, but referred
only to maintenance under ordinary conditions. The Court denied
this contention and said that the company was required to rebuild
159 N.W. 919. Here a bridge was erected and maintained by a
railroad. The court required the railroad to rebuild the bridge
after someone had run a steamshovel over it. The word'maintained'
was defined as "keeping up, preserving, and rebuilding in a case
of destruction". In the district's letter to the Board of County
Commissioners in Citrus County, dated September 17, 1965, it is
stated," It should be understood by the Commission that the
Withlacoochee River Basin of the Southwest Florida Water Management
District assumes the complete responsibility for the operation
and maintaining of the structure covered by this permit upon
We do not have a copy of District Resolution No. 66, dated
November 13, 1963, and unless this resolution specifically
spells out responsibilities, I feel that this assumption of
responsibility for operation and maintaining of the structure
would obligate the district to repair the structure. It would
seem that where one has control of a structure through the
operation and maintenance of the structure, even though they
did not initially construct it, this would require a person.
assuming such responsibility to insure its proper operation,
maintenance, and repair.
There does not seem to be an abundance of law on this point.