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Category Archives: Public Contracts

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Philadelphia Voters to Consider Best Value Bid Procurement

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

My friend and colleague, Chris McCabe, recently published an opinion piece on concerning the May 16 ballot question that asks Philadelphia voters to approve a change in the way Philadelphia awards public contracts. Currently, Philadelphia, like all municipalities in Pennsylvania, uses an objective lowest responsible bidder standard in the award of public contracts. Under… Continue Reading

Suing a Local Government in Land Use Cases – Part 2 – Procedural Due Process

Posted in Government Contracts, Public Contracts

In my last post I discussed suing a local government for a substantive due process violation. In this post, I discuss a the right to procedural due process. The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects prohibits the government from depriving an individual or business of life (in the case of an individual), liberty, or… Continue Reading

Suing a Local Government in Land Use Cases – Part 1 – Substantive Due Process

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

Because of my personal political persuasions (pro-freedom) and success in litigating cases against the government and other media about those cases businesses frequently approach me about bringing claims against local governments and agencies for interfering with their Constitutional rights.  Actions by local government agencies that could give rise to a Constitutional violation include: treating a developer’s project differently than a… Continue Reading

Jury Verdict Obtained in “Landmark” Case Against the City of Philadelphia

Posted in Public Contracts

Yesterday, in a case that attracted wide spread media attention (stories here and here), a jury in federal court ruled that the City of Philadelphia violated my client’s first amendment free speech rights when a Philadelphia City Councilperson blocked the sale of two city owned vacant lots to him in retaliation for my client challenging… Continue Reading

5 Construction Law Trends to Watch in 2015

Posted in Construction Labor Law, Government Contracts, Infrastructure Construction, Mechanics Liens, Public Contracts, Public Private Partnerships (P3), Unions

As we enter the New Year, here is a look at 5 areas that will be a hot bed of legal activity for contractors and their attorneys. 1.   Aggressive Union Activity. Decreasing membership and market share, will cause Big Labor to ramp up efforts to “persuade” public and private owners to use an all… Continue Reading

Your Construction Company Is Not In Compliance With This Regulation

Posted in Public Contracts

The Department of Labor maintains a set of regulations that (a) are the basis for a large increase in enforcement activity, (b) apply to virtual all transportation contractors and subcontractors, and (c) most contractors and subcontractors are not complying with. Those regulations are found at 41 C.F.R. 60-4.1 and are the implementing regulations for Executive… Continue Reading

Change Order? You Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Change Order

Posted in Change Orders, Public Contracts

ENR Risk Review has a story about an engineer’s lawsuit for additional compensation for work that was not memorialized in a formal written change order.   The case brings to mind an often unknown rule in Pennsylvania regarding verbal change orders. Claims for additional compensation where no written change order exists are common.  What comes… Continue Reading

The School District of Philadelphia’s Design Professional Boondoggle

Posted in Design Professional Liability, Public Contracts

ENR tipped me off to a story that somehow I completely missed.  The School District of Philadelphia has apparently filed a series of lawsuits against more than two dozen design professionals in connection with work performed on the School District’s Capital Improvement Program. Because no formal complaints have not been filed – instead the School… Continue Reading

A Reminder Not to Commit DBE Fraud

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

As has been discussed on this blog, the most common form of fraud involving the Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise program, involves a “pass through” entity that performs little or no actual work on the construction project.  Under this common scheme, a general contractor hires a subcontractor that has been certified a DBE and… Continue Reading

A Lesson In Being Wary of Under Budget Bids

Posted in Contracts, Public Contracts

Owners should never be “thrilled” with bids that come in substantially under budget because it usually means something is either wrong with their construction documents or their contractor intends to make up there thrilling under budget bid with scope related change orders. According to ENR, Taisei Construction Company has filed a lawsuit against San Joaquin… Continue Reading

Philly Flags Firms for Flaunting DBE Rules

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

The City of Philadelphia flagged eleven (yes this one goes to eleven) prime contractors for flaunting the City of Philadelphia’s DBE rules according to the City of Philadelphia Office of Inspector General.  According to the news release, the chief offender, William H. Betz, Inc., may have gotten off easy.  According to the OIG, Betz facilitated… Continue Reading

Is Your Disparity Study Accurate?

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

(This guest blog post from John Sullivan, Esquire, a Baltimore lawyer who specializes in DBE and MWBE disparity studies. John’s website is Croson Legal Services.  He can be reached via email at For more than two decades it has been true that subcontracting goals – Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goals on federal work and Minority and… Continue Reading

PA Board of Claims Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Contractor Claims

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

My age makes me part of perhaps the last generation to go to college where computers, the internet, and email were not in widespread use.  Before the internet age, Villanova University, where I went to undergraduate and law school, would notify students of the time and location of final exams by posting several small print… Continue Reading

What Happens When You Do Not Follow DBE Rules?

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Contracts

You end up paying $1.15 million to the Justice Department to settle claims that you violated the False Claims Act.  As reported by ENR, Caddell Construction of Montgomery, AL, agreed to pay the Justice Department $1.15 million to settle charges that it violated the False Claims Act by —  you guessed it — committing DBE… Continue Reading

DBE/MBE Goals Threaten to Make Complete Mess of Project

Posted in Disadvantage Business Enterprises (DBE), Public Bidding, Public Contracts

Here is one I have not seen before, a project that threatens to get derailed because the general contractor proactively included M/WBE goals in its contract.  The story reported in the Baltimore Business Journal  involves M/WBE hiring goals in Whiting-Turner’s contract to build the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.  According to the story, Whiting Turner, the project’s general contractor,… Continue Reading

Bid Protests Are Worth It!

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

So concludes an upcoming report by the former Dan Gordon, the former head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. According to Gordon, among the pro’s of a bid protest are: Protests introduce a relatively low-cost form of accountability into acquisition systems by providing disgruntled participants a forum for airing their complaints; They can increase potential bidders’… Continue Reading

How to File a Federal Bid Protest

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

In recent years, as private work has become more scare, the competition for public projects has increased.  In turn, so have the number of bid disputes challenging the awards of those public contracts.  Since 2006, the number of bid protest filed with the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has nearly doubled from approximately 1,300 protest filed… Continue Reading

Does Anyone Know About Pennsylvania’s Public Private Partnership Law?

Posted in Public Contracts

Last week I took PennDot to task for not mentioning Pennsylvania’s new public private partnership legislation when it was complaining about the lack of financing available for infrastructure projects because one of the main purposes of the act is to finance transportation projects.  In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal Money magazine, there is an article “How… Continue Reading

Does PennDOT Know We Have a Public Private Partnership Act?

Posted in Public Bidding, Public Contracts

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recently released its first ever “Transportation Performance Report, a detailed rating of the state’s efforts in safety, mobility, system preservation and accountability, with the results underscoring the need for additional transportation investment.” According to the report “In the categories of system capacity enhancements, local bridge conditions, pavement reconstruction and transit infrastructure,… Continue Reading

How to Appeal a DBE Certification Denial

Posted in Public Contracts

A contractor denied a DBE certification by a State unified certification program approved by the Department of Transportation has the right to appeal the denial to the Department of Transportation.  Contractors who have seen their certification revoked can file a similar appeal. Appeals are taken to the Department of Transportation, Office of Civil Rights and must… Continue Reading

Contractors Settling DBE Fraud Cases Are Not Out of the Woods Yet

Posted in Public Contracts

Chris McCabe at has a post up about a two City of Philadelphia contractors, who reached settlement agreements with the City of Philadelphia related to alleged inaccurate invoices. Essentially, the City of Philadelphia claimed that Aramark, a food services contractor, overstated the percentage of its overall contract being performed by a certified MBE.  Aramark… Continue Reading