Landscaper may sue city after lack of contractual enforcement

As New Jersey business owners know, bidding on a contract can be a challenging process. It's crucial to have the lowest bid; otherwise, another company may secure the contract. Sometimes there are other elements that seem to sway the contract to favor one company over another. A contract dispute over a flawed bidding process has led a landscaping company from Alexandria, Virginia, to consider a lawsuit.

J and J Landscaping Management, as well as at least one other company, were competing for a contract to maintain right-of-ways, medians and landscaping for the city. However, as the owner of J and J Landscaping Management looked over the scope, he noticed it was different from previous years.

This alarmed him, since it appeared that many services were cut out of the scope and he was concerned that the job would entail more work than what was outlined. He brought up his concern to the city, who responded that some jobs, such as mowing, were being reconfigured due to budget cuts.

The owner submitted a bid anyway and learned a few days later that a rival company was selected for the contract. He spotted the other company maintaining public property not specified in the contract. The city denied this was true, claiming that in-house personnel were being utilized for some of the work.

The owner is claiming that the proposal did not accurately portray the extent of the job and the selection was arbitrary. He is considering a lawsuit for the city's lack of contractual enforcement.

There are many instances in which bidders are unsatisfied with the result of a contract award. Many times, these concerns are dismissed because the losing bidders are considered "sore losers" and "jealous." However, if the owner has proof that the selection process was rigged, then he should pursue his case in court for fairness purposes.

Source: Alexandria Times, " Contract Dispute Could Go To Trial," Derrick Perkins, July 19, 2013


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