Constitution of the United States. Plaintiff does not seek a judicial award of the contract to it, nor does it seek a termination of the Township's contract with Penn Sanitation. Plaintiff does seek an award in excess of $ 600,000 for damages allegedly incurred from the failure to grant it a hearing on its responsibility as a bidder.
In order to secure the relief it seeks under § 1983, plaintiff must demonstrate that the Township deprived it of property without according it the procedural protection required by the due process clause. Board of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 568, 92 S. Ct. 2701, 2704, 33 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1972). The threshold question, therefore, is whether the interest claimed by Mascaro is a property interest protected by the Constitution. Lewis v. School District of Bristol, 443 F. Supp. 923, 926 (E.D.Pa.1978). In order to have a property interest in a government benefit, whether it be a job or a public works contract, the party making the claim must show that it has a "legitimate claim of entitlement." Board of Regents v. Roth, supra, 408 U.S. at 577, 92 S. Ct. at 2709. Whether or not a claimant has such an entitlement to the benefit is decided by reference to state law. Bishop v. Wood, 426 U.S. 341, 344, 96 S. Ct. 2074, 2077, 48 L. Ed. 2d 684 (1976), Rosenthal v. Rizzo, 555 F.2d 390, 392 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 892, 98 S. Ct. 268, 54 L. Ed. 2d 178 (1977).
Initially, since it was the lowest monetary bidder, plaintiff contended that 53 Pa.Stat.Ann. § 56802(b), with its requirement that the contract be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, gave it a claim of entitlement to the contract. Plaintiff now concedes, however, that this statute does not create rights in one who bids on a contract, but rather exists merely to protect the taxpayers from wasteful or fraudulent expenditures of public funds.
Sovereign Construction Company, Ltd. v. City of Philadelphia, 439 F. Supp. 692, 694 (E.D.Pa.1977), aff'd mem. 582 F.2d 1276 (3d Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1072, 99 S. Ct. 844, 59 L. Ed. 2d 39 (1979); R. S. Noonan, Inc. v. York School District, 400 Pa. 391, 395, 162 A.2d 623 (1960). Under Pennsylvania law a disappointed bidder simply has no cause of action for failure to receive a contract. Sovereign Construction Company, Ltd., supra, at 694. Plaintiff, therefore, has no claim of entitlement to a public contract based on the requirement that the contract be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, since in Pennsylvania, that requirement is solely for the protection of the taxpayers.
Despite the absence of any statutory entitlement to the refuse collection contract, plaintiff still contends that it has been deprived of a property interest. Essentially, Mascaro claims that the failure of defendant to grant it a hearing deprived it of its fundamental right to earn a livelihood, a right protected by both the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions. See, U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, Pa.Const. Art. I, § I. Plaintiff is clearly correct when it contends that the right to pursue a livelihood is a property right under Pennsylvania law. See, e.g., Montgomery County Bar Association v. Rinalducci, 329 Pa. 296, 298, 197 A. 924 (1938); Mazzocone v. Willing, 246 Pa.Super. 98, 369 A.2d 829, 831 (Ct. 1977) reversed on other grounds, 482 Pa. 377, 393 A.2d 1155 (1978). "Unquestionably, the right to pursue the occupation of one's own choosing may not be curtailed without due process of law. The interest in a profession, being akin to a property right, may not be removed arbitrarily." Pirillo v. Takiff, 462 Pa. 511, 341 A.2d 896, 900 (Pa.1975), appeal dismissed, 423 U.S. 1083, 96 S. Ct. 873, 47 L. Ed. 2d 94 (1976). Plaintiff, however, misses the point. The protections of procedural due process do not apply unless there has been a deprivation of a property interest. Board of Regents v. Roth, supra, 408 U.S. at 570, 92 S. Ct. at 2705. Mascaro has failed to demonstrate how the failure of the Township, to either award it the contract or to grant it a hearing, deprived it of its right to pursue a livelihood.
There are no allegations in this case that Mascaro has been prevented from being a trash collector. This is not a case, for example, where the government has precluded a bidder from ever bidding on contracts in the future. See Gonzalez v. Freeman, 118 U.S. App. D.C. 180, 334 F.2d 570, 575 (D.C. Cir. 1964). Nor is it comparable to a case where an attorney has been disbarred without a hearing. See In re Shigon, 462 Pa. 1, 329 A.2d 235 (1969). In a similar vein, Mascaro is not being arbitrarily denied a license prerequisite to engaging in a lawful activity. See Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535, 539, 91 S. Ct. 1586, 1589, 29 L. Ed. 2d 90 (1971). All that this case involves is a contract "lost" by a disappointed bidder, the inevitable by-product of the procedure through which public contracts are awarded.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has stated that an indirect, remote, and nonpurposeful consequence or merely a side effect of the direct, governmental regulation of or imposition of burdens upon other persons does not constitute a deprivation of or interference with property within the meaning of the (United States or Pennsylvania constitutions).