Earlier this year, WSH Partner and Construction Group Chair Gary L. Brown obtained a favorable decision on behalf of the City of Lauderhill (the “City”) in a lawsuit over a rejected bid protest for the construction of the City’s Performing Arts Center and Library.
In 2011, the City issued a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for construction work on its Performing Arts Center and Library. TGSV Enterprises, Inc. (“TGSV”), a Hialeah-based general contractor, responded to the RFP. However, TGSV did not submit a letter of intent for one of its proposed County Business Enterprises (Jador International), and also failed to include dollar amounts or percentages for other County Business Enterprises in the Letters of Intent that it did submit with its bid proposal. After reviewing the proposal Broward County (the “County”) determined that the missing Letter of Intent and missing financial information were material omissions, and determined that TGSV failed to comply with the requirements established under the City’s Request for Proposal and the County’s Business Enterprises Act of 2009. The City adopted the County’s determination, and TGSV’s bid proposal was rejected. TGSV protested, and filed suit in Broward County Circuit Court.
On February 26, the Court issued an Order Denying TGSV’s Request for a Declaratory Judgment and Injunctive Relief and Granting the City’s Counterclaim for Declaratory Relief. In the Order, Circuit Court Judge Carlos Rodriguez determined that TGSV could not obtain a permanent injunction directing the City to score their bid proposal in part because TGSV failed to demonstrate that it had a clear legal right to have its bid rescored. Citing Sutron Corp. v. Lake County Water Authority, 870 So. 2d 930, 932 (Fla. 5th DCA, 2004), Judge Rodriguez noted that “it is well established in Florida that a public entity’s rejection of contract bids will be affirmed in court, unless the action of the public body was arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious,” and found that neither the City nor the County acted in an arbitrary or capricious manner when they determined that TSTV’s bid was non-responsive. Specifically, the Judge held that the City offered undisputed evidence that it consistently refused or would refuse to consider additional documentation for any non-responsive bids containing material omissions. Therefore, the City’s refusal to accept the bid was not arbitrary or capricious.
WSH’s Construction Group employs experienced litigators whose ingenuity and focused commitment to their clients’ needs distinguishes them in the field. Many Group members are members of WSH’s Litigation Division, which routinely defends municipalities and governmental agencies in all areas of liability at the trial and appellate levels. We have helped our construction clients, both in the public and private sector, navigate through many challenges, including disputes during planning and development, the bidding process, bonds, contracting and construction. The Group works closely with WSH’s Local Government Law Division in its representation of local governments on the owner side of the construction process, from procurement through development and final completion of all types of public projects.
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara