Contract Remedies for Bidders on Public Work Contracts (WA State)

Contract Remedies for Bidders on Public Work Contracts (WA State)

Under Washington State laws, what are appropriate contract remedies for bidders on public work contracts? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


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THE CASELAW

INCOMPLETE PROJECTS: INJUNCTION IS APPROPRIATE REMEDY FOR BIDDER ON PUBLIC WORK CONTRACT AGGRIEVED BY GOVERNMENT ACTIONS: "In Mottner v. Town of Mercer Island, ... [the court] explained that an injunction, not monetary damages, is the appropriate remedy for the bidder on a public work contract who feels aggrieved by the action of the government." Specialty Asphalt & Construction, LLC v. Lincoln County, 191 Wn.2d 182, 200 (Wash. 2018) (citing Mottner v. Town of Mercer Island, 75 Wn.2d 575, 579, 452 P.2d 750 (1969)) (the Specialty Asphalt Court found exclusive remedy was an injunction, because plaintiff-Specialty had neither completed nor begun performance) (emphasis added).

COMPLETED PROJECTS: MONETARY DAMAGES AWARD APPROPRIATE IF PROJECT IS COMPLETED: "In Scoccolo, we affirmed the monetary damages award in favor of Scoccolo, the contractor, after Scoccolo completed the project but incurred damages stemming from delays attributed to Renton." Specialty Asphalt, 191 Wn.2d at 200 (citing Scoccolo Construction, Inc. v. City of Renton, 158 Wn.2d 506, 509-10, 145 P.3d 371 (2006)) (emphasis added).

POLICY: "[W]hile equitable, extraordinary, or declarative relief may serve the public interest by preventing the award and execution of a contract for an excessive amount, permitting damages in such cases serves the bidder's interest alone, and is contrary to the public interest the competitive bidding laws were designed to protect, further burdening a treasury already injured by paying too high a price for the goods or services." Id. at 200-01 (citing Peerless Food Products, Inc. v. State, 119 Wn.2d 584, 591, 835 P.2d 1012 (1992) (emphasis omitted in original) (quoting James L. Isham, Annotation, Public Contracts: Low Bidder's Monetary Relief against State or Local Agency for Nonaward of Contract, 65 A.L.R.4th 93, § 2[a] (1988)) (alteration in original).

LEARN MORE

If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.

–gw

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