June 24, 2008

Local governments may enforce strict submission requirements for service contracts

BAIRD TREE COMPANY, INC. v. CITY OF OAK RIDGE, ET AL. (Tenn.Ct.App. June 24, 2008).

Baird Tree Company, Inc. ("Plaintiff") was one of three bidders on a tree trimming and removal project submitted for bid by the City of Oak Ridge ("Oak Ridge"). Plaintiff was notified by letter of several deficiencies in its bid and Oak Ridge requested that the bid be supplemented with additional information. Plaintiff explicitly refused to do so and informed Oak Ridge that its bid was fine just the way it was.

After the contract was awarded to a different company, Plaintiff filed suit claiming it should have been awarded the contract because it was the lowest bidder and further claiming that Oak Ridge violated the Tennessee Trade Practices Act, Tenn. Code Ann. section 47-25-101, et seq. Oak Ridge filed a motion for summary judgment claiming, among other things, that it was entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff's bid was invalid to begin with and the Trade Practices Act did not apply to this case. The Trial Court agreed and granted the motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff appeals raising numerous issues. We affirm.

Opinion may be found at:

"The undisputed material facts demonstrate that there were numerous deficiencies in Plaintiff’s original bid. Although not required to do so, Dover sent a letter to Plaintiff’s owner and president requesting the additional necessary information. Mr. Baird refused to supply any additional information and even went so far as to inform Dover that he (i.e., Mr. Baird) would be sending questions to Dover that he wanted answered. The Trial Court correctly characterized this response as being “in your face.” This Court is at a loss as to how a company can send such a response to legitimate questions that were raised about its bid, and then complain when it is not awarded the bid." Id.