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J.H. Walker Construction Co. v. Board of Alderman

August 04, 1998

J.H. WALKER CONSTRUCTION CO.
v.
BOARD OF ALDERMAN OF THE CITY OF NATCHEZ



Before Bridges, C.j., Herring, And Southwick, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Southwick, J

J.H. PARKER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT v. BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: JUNE 21, 1996

TRIAL JUDGE: HONORABLE FORREST A. JOHNSON, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: ADAMS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - CONTRACT

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AWARD OF CITY CONTRACT AFFIRMED

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 8/4/98

¶1. J.H. Parker Construction Company submitted a sealed bid for a public construction project advertised by the City of Natchez. After the City awarded the construction project to another company, Parker Construction filed a bill of exceptions with the Circuit Court of Adams County asserting that the City impermissibly waived a mandatory bidding requirement. The circuit court held that the City awarded the contract to the lowest and best bidder and that the City's decision was neither arbitrary nor capricious. Parker Construction appeals alleging that the court erred in upholding the City's award of the construction project. We disagree and affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

¶2. On January 12, 1996, the City of Natchez advertised for sealed bids for a public construction project entitled "Contract I - Earthwork for the Visitor Reception and Intermodel Transportation Center." The bid invitation informed contractors that an "award would not be made to any bidder submitting a proposal involving omissions or irregularities outlined in Section 102 of the 1990 Edition of the Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction...." Potential bidders were notified that a copy of the "Standard Specifications" could be obtained from the Mississippi State Highway Department.

¶3. In conjunction with the construction project, the City produced and published a project manual that contained notices to prospective bidders, forms, and other pertinent information. Section 904 of the project manual incorporated the 1990 edition of the "Standard Specifications for Road and Bridge Construction" that was referred to in the City's advertisement.

¶4. During the regular board meeting on February 13, 1996, the City received and opened nine sealed bids on the construction project. The four lowest bids were as follows: (1) Lampkin Construction, $1,067,735.65; (2) Prentiss Corporation, $1,099,476.00; (3) Thompson Tree and Spraying, $1,172,366.40; and (4) Parker Construction, $1,178,430.90. The Board of Aldermen first permitted the City Engineer to evaluate the bids. He recommended that the Board award the contract to Lampkin Construction, contingent upon the approval of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The Board voted to accept the engineer's recommendation and award the contract to Lampkin Construction.

ΒΆ5. The following day, Parker Construction mailed a letter to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of Natchez protesting the award of the contract to Lampkin Construction. Parker Construction alleged that the bids submitted by Lampkin Construction, Prentiss Corporation, and Thompson Tree and Spraying were non-responsive under Section 102 of the Standard Specifications. Parker Construction contended that the three firms failed to file a required "Prequalification of Bidders" statement, listing persons authorized to bind the company on all matters, as set forth in Section 102.01 of the ...


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