Void Means Void – Municipal Contract That Did Not Conform to Statute Is Void and No Claim for Breach or Quasi-Contract or Unjust Enrichment Is Permitted

Aquatic Renovations Sys. v. Vill. of Walbridge, 2018 Ohio App. Lexis 1581 (April 13, 2018)

This post was published on July 7, 2018 in The Pennsylvania Record.

On May 2, 2012, Aquatic Renovations Systems, Inc. (“Aquatic”) entered into a contract with the Village of Walbridge (“the Village”) for the installation of a new pool liner (“Contract 1”).  Prior thereto, the Village council adopted an ordinance which authorized the mayor to enter into Contract 1 (“Ordinance”).  On April 12, 2013, the mayor signed a new contract for the balance of the work (“Contract 2”).  A few days after Aquatic completed its work, the pool liner began to lift.  The Village then refused to pay Aquatic for the completed and approved work.

Aquatic sued the Village for non-payment, alleging the Village breached Contract 2.  Aquatic also alleged that the Village was liable under a theory of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment.  The trial court granted the Village’s motion for summary judgment, holding that Contract 2 was not valid because it did not comply with the Ohio Revised Statute which required the mayor, the clerk, and the Village administrator to authorize all Village Contracts.  Thus, because Contract 2 was unenforceable, Aquatic could not recover under a breach of contract, quantum meruit or unjust enrichment theory.    Continue reading “Void Means Void – Municipal Contract That Did Not Conform to Statute Is Void and No Claim for Breach or Quasi-Contract or Unjust Enrichment Is Permitted”

Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Contractor’s Complaint, Declining to Create ‘Ultra Vires’ or ‘Bias’ Exceptions to the Requirement That Contractors Exhaust Their Administrative Remedies Under Maryland Law Before Suing a Government Agency

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 2017 U.S. App. Lexis 7252 (4th Cir., April 25, 2017)

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently addressed whether the City of Baltimore (the “City”) had abandoned a contractually required administrative dispute resolution process and relieved Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. (the “Contractor”) of any obligation to use the administrative dispute resolution process before seeking judicial review of the Contractor’s claims.

The City and the Contractor entered into two contracts (the “Contracts”) whereby the Contractor agreed to build certain parts of a wastewater treatment plant servicing the Chesapeake Bay. The Contracts stipulated that time was of the essence and permitted the City to assess liquidated damages if the Contractor failed to meet the specified completion date.  The Contracts also incorporated by reference the administrative dispute resolution process set forth in the City’s “Department of Public Works Specifications – Materials, Highways, Bridges, Utilities and Incidental Structures 2006,” known as the “Green Book,” which requires contractors engaged by the City in connection with public works projects to seek administrative review by the City’s Department of Public Works of any dispute related to their contracts before suing in court.  Continue reading “Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Contractor’s Complaint, Declining to Create ‘Ultra Vires’ or ‘Bias’ Exceptions to the Requirement That Contractors Exhaust Their Administrative Remedies Under Maryland Law Before Suing a Government Agency”

Federal Court in Oklahoma Rules that Bond Issued on a Sovereign Tribal Construction Project is Not a Miller Act Bond Even Though it Stated it was Issued Pursuant to the Act and Named The United States As Obligee

United States ex rel. J.A. Manning Constr. Co. v. Bronze Oak, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6054 (N.D. Okla. Jan. 17, 2017)

 In May 2014 the Cherokee Nation issued a bid notice for bridge and roadway construction in Mayes County, Oklahoma (the “Project”). Funding was authorized pursuant to the Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of the Interior’s Tribal Transportation Program, 23 U.S.C. § 202, by which federal funding is offered to Native American tribal governments to pay the costs of certain transportation projects located on, or providing access to, tribal lands.

Bronze Oak, LLC submitted a bid proposal and was hired as the general contractor for Project, and J.A. Manning Construction Company (“JAMCC”) was hired as a subcontractor to supply labor and materials to the Project. Bronze Oak’s bid proposal provided that any resulting contract would be construed under U.S. and Cherokee Nation laws.  A payment bond was issued for the Project naming Bronze Oak as the principal, Mid-Continental Casualty Company as surety, and the United States as obligee.  The payment bond also stated it was for the protection of persons supplying labor and materials pursuant to the Miller Act. Continue reading “Federal Court in Oklahoma Rules that Bond Issued on a Sovereign Tribal Construction Project is Not a Miller Act Bond Even Though it Stated it was Issued Pursuant to the Act and Named The United States As Obligee”