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H.J. WILLIAMS COMPANY v. DEPARTMENT TRANSPORTATION (03/30/77)

decided: March 30, 1977.

H.J. WILLIAMS COMPANY, INC., PLAINTIFF
v.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA ET AL., DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of H.J. Williams Co., Inc. v. Department of Transportation, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Honorable Jacob G. Kassab, Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and Honorable Grace M. Sloan, State Treasurer, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

William M. Young, Jr., with him Edward C. First, Jr., Gilbert Nurick, and McNees, Wallace and Nurick, for plaintiff.

Stuart J. Moskovitz, Assistant Attorney General, with him Robert W. Cunliffe, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for defendants.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 467]

H.J. Williams Company, Inc., a corporation engaged in the highway construction business, filed a complaint in equity seeking an order enjoining the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) from awarding a construction contract to another company, J. Rich Steers, Inc. (Steers), and enjoining the State Treasurer from making payments under the contract with Steers.

The plaintiff applied for a preliminary injunction which was denied by a Judge of this Court on October 23, 1975. The defendants filed preliminary objections which we overruled on October 21, 1976. Now before

[ 29 Pa. Commw. Page 468]

    us on stipulated facts are motions for summary judgment of both the plaintiff and the defendants.

PennDOT advertised for bids for the construction and improvement of a segment of State highway in Dauphin County on or about August 28, 1975. The bidders were requested, in the proposal forms, to give their bids in the form of unit price for each item needed for the project and to extend the price by multiplying each unit price by the approximate quantity set forth on the proposal form and then to add these extended totals to arrive at a final figure. The proposal form used by PennDOT provided:

The extensions and totals are only for the information of the Department and will not be considered as a part of the proposal.

When the bids were opened on September 26, 1975, the plaintiff was informed that its final figure indicated that it was the lowest bidder. PennDOT then examined all of the bids for mathematical correctness. It discovered that Steers in computing its final figure had twice added a substantial unit item and had additionally made a mistake in multiplying one unit price by the estimated quantity of that item. On October 3, 1975, PennDOT declared Steers to be the lowest bidder and eventually awarded it the contract.

The plaintiff says (1) that PennDOT's determination that the Steers bid was the lowest was erroneous and that the contract should be awarded to the plaintiff or be readvertised for bids; and (2) that assuming that the Steers bid was indeed the lowest, it should not have been awarded the contract because PennDOT waived its right ...


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