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Grady Crawford Construction, Inc. v City of Baton Rouge

Case No. 2011 CA 0377 (LA Ct. App., 1st Circ., Aug. 17, 2011)

This is an appeal of a judgment that granted a request for preliminary injunctive relief, permanent injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and mandamus in favor of plaintiff/appellee, Grady Crawford Construction, Inc. (Crawford), ordering that defendants/appellants, the City of Baton Rouge and the Parish of East Baton Rouge (collectively, Baton Rouge) award the contract at issue to Crawford. RMD Holdings, Ltd. (RMD), intervenor/appellant, and Baton Rouge appeal the judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY On June 18, 2010 Baton Rouge first published a “Notice to Contractors” soliciting bids for Project Number O9-PS-BD-0037, known as “Standby Generator Installations for Sewer Lifi Stations.” The notice to contractors stated that “for bidding, Contractors must hold an active license issued by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors in the classification of ‘Municipal and Public Works Construction’.” (Emphasis added.) Bids were to be submitted prior to 2:00 pm. on July 29, 2010. RMD and Crawford submitted bids for the project. RMD was the lowest bidder but was not approved for the “Municipal and Public Works Construction” classification until sometime on the day of the bid opening, during a meeting of the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (the Licensing Board.)

Nevertheless, on August 11, 2010 the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council (Metro Council) voted to award the contract to RMD. Crawford filed suit for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief, seeking to enjoin Baton Rouge from awarding the project to RMD, and for a declaratory judgment and mandamus, seeking to declare Crawford the lowest, “responsive bidder” and to be awarded the project. Crawford alleged that RMD was not a “responsive bidder” because at the time that it submitted its bid it did not hold an active license with a “Municipal and Public Works Construction” classification. Following a hearing, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of Crawford. RMD and Baton Rouge appeal.

RMD, in its assignments of error, alleges that the trial court erred: in conducting a de novo review of an agency decision as opposed to applying the arbitrary and capricious standard of review; in placing the burden of proof on Baton Rouge, the defendant, and RMD, the intervenor, instead of Crawford; in admitting a digital recording of the Licensing Board’s meeting of July 29, 2010 for the purpose of establishing the time of the approval of RMD’s license classification; and in finding that Crawford supported its claims by a preponderance of the evidence.
 

 

Judge(s): Jefferson D. Hughes III
Jurisdiction: Louisiana Court of Appeals, First Circuit
Related Categories: Civil Remedies , Contracts , Government / Politics
 
Trial Court Judge(s)
Todd Hernandez

 
Court of Appeals Judge(s)
Edward Guidry
Jefferson Hughes, III
Randolph Parro

 
Intervenors Lawyer(s) Intervenors Law Firm(s)
Casey Faucon
Trippe Hawthorne

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Ashley Beck
Frank Gremillion
Mary Roper

 
Appellee Lawyer(s) Appellee Law Firm(s)
Todd Hebert
Gray Sexton

 

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for the reasons assigned herein the judgment of the trial court is affirmed 666 67 after the bids were opened in an effort to confirm rmds qualifications bryan harmon the deputy todd hebert grady crawford construction inc legislature has specifically prescribed the conditions upon which it will permit after the bid closing time all electronic bids will be justice weimer dissented but agreed with the majority to the extent that the submitted by properly licensed contractors additionally lsars 372163 states in pertinent part that 4ol grady crawford construction inc bidder must have already held an active license with the proper classification the preponderance of the evidence in failing to give deference to the metro councils baton rouge the defendant and rmd the intervenor instead of crawford in application for an additional classification to its license was approved we address be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder see lsars 382212a1a under lsace art 8036 a memorandum report record or data compilation responsive bidder given the fact that it was not approved for the municipal and 10 arbitrary and capricious standard of review in placing the burden of proof on 3 the time that it submitted its bid it did not hold an active license with a municipal hughes j particular project were required to be thursday july 22 2010 no bids will be responsive however after contacting the licensing board directly and learning that rmds license bids will be received until 200 pm local time council in awarding the contract to rmd however under the provisions of the public bid law any baton rouge collectively baton rouge award the contract at issue to crawford be automatically rejected shall be returned to the bidder q would it be fair to say then that z public work to be done on its behalf or on behalf of its political subdivisions contractor must have actually held the municipal and public works preponderance of the evidence and may not choose to waive them at a later date contract or to seek other appropriate injunctive reliefto prevent the award of a contract which would be in acting in accordance with louisiana revised statutes were no breaks or executive sessions at that meeting that would have required an contractor to assure that all subcontractors comply with it was stipulated at the trial that the sewer project is a public work and occupational standards for contractors found in the louisiana administrative works construction classification until sometime on the day of the bid opening therefore if it is concluded that the language of the bid advertisement the louisiana revised statutes 382212 a1bicontained within the public mary roper counsel for defendantsappellants metro council broadmoor llc v ernest n morial new orleans exhibition hall nevertheless on august 11 2010 the baton rouge metropolitan council trial court no 593614 section 27 compensation the board is hereby vested with the authority requisite the notice to contractors stated that admitting a digital recording of the licensing boards meeting of july 29 2010 for from awarding the project to rmd and for a declaratory judgment and mandamus title 34 part i section 527b of the louisiana administrative code defines a responsive bidder as violation of this part or through ordinary proceeding to seek appropriate remedy to nullify a contract z authenticated by ms kris fitch the custodian of records in charge of the its bid was submitted 11 pursuant to that power the board promulgated the professional and injunctive relief permanent injunctive relief declaratory relief and mandamus in brief that rmdsobjection was not to the admissibility of the audio recording as a classification was approved effective july 29 2010 the day the bids were opened mr harmon then with the correct classification prior to 200 rendered judgment in favor of crawford rmd and baton rouge appeal disturbed on appeal absent a clear abuse of that discretion wright v bennett facts and procedural history q so it would be fair to say that bids had to be which they bid emphasis added we now address whether crawford met its burden of proof to establish that because the meeting of the licensing board was proceeding simultaneously certain requirements in its advertisements for bids and on time its bid was submitted therefore rmds bid was not responsive was record custodian public information officer and confidential assistant to the r gray sexton counsel for plaintiffappellee the addendum stated b any bylaws or rules or regulations enacted by the board shall be testified with certainty that the meeting began at 930 am the recording was substituting its own judgment for the good faith reasonable judgment of the bid opening pursuant to lsars 372163a1the bid must contain the bid law states the provisions and requirement of this section those stated in with the public bid law la associated gen contr inc 586 so2d at 1362 for the trieroffact and therefore subject to the manifest error standard of review and to keep the memorandum report record or data compilation all as shown by so2d 1354 1359 la 1991 however where the threatened action of a statutorily impermissible and was required to be rejected at the trial of this matter crawford called two witnesses ms kris fitch the before parro guidry and hughes jj municipal body is in direct violation of a prohibitory law a court of equity may it is well settled under louisiana law that the judicial branch may not recording ofthe july 29 2010 meeting of the licensing board 382212 c 2 a the bid opening date is postponed by 20022940 la 2703 836 so2d 107 prohibition against the waiver of bid requirements broadmoor 867 so2d at a correct favor of plaintiffappellee grady crawford construction inc crawford 2010 she testified that the meeting began promptly at 930 am and that there seeking to declare crawford the lowest responsive bidder and to be awarded of its statutory authority and outside ofits discretionary authority judgment rendered casey faucon counsel for intervenorappellee indicate that rmd possessed the proper classification rmd was notified that its bid appeared non a 1 it is the intent of this section that only contractors who hold an to evidence the length of the meeting we conclude that issue to be a fact question license number on the face of the bid envelope and the court of appeal submitted the evidence establishes by a preponderance that these requirements we emphasize that it is clear from the transcript ofthe trial and from rmds bids received if any in room 312 of the municipal this law if required for bidding contractors must hold broad discretion in its evidentiary rulings and its determinations will not be all provisions of the state licensing law for contractors rs 372150 2163 the advertisement for bids and those required on the bid form shall not be waived on june 18 2010 baton rouge first published a notice to contractors rmd did not possess the requisite classification at the time its bid was submitted conducting a de novo review of an agency decision as opposed to applying the rmd in its assignments of error alleges that the trial court erred in rmd and baton rouge both urge that deference is owed to the discretionary decision of the metro adopted and promulgated pursuant to the provisions of rs 49951 et i evidentiary errors more shall be required to have qualified for the classification in requisite classification and license that bid minutes into the recording or at 224 pm contractors must hold an active license in the classification of municipal and a person who has submitted a bid under rs 391594 which conforms in all substantive respects to the shall place in their bid specifications the requirement that a the additional classification was not approved until after the bid opening it was recording ms fitch testified that she personally attended the meeting on july 29 temporary restraining order and injunctive relief seeking to enjoin baton rouge construction classification the following colloquy took place at trial building immediately after the 200 pm bid closing projects exceeding the sum of 150000 be advertised for bid and that the contract enjoin the threatened action la associated gen contr inc 586 so2d at the basic statutory law governing this case is contained in lsars recording began at 930 am and recorded continuously from the beginning of the meeting of the licensing board for the purpose of establishing the time that rmds baton rouge la defendants the city of baton rouge and the parish of east baton rouge equally aug 1 7 2011 2010 in room 312 of the municipal building recording into evidence in regard to what weight the trial court gave to its ability record briefs and arguments of counsel that all parties agree that the bid submission deadline was also submitted the notice to contractors along with addendum no 1 and the audio award of the contract to crawford was proper 5 baton rouge also alleges that the trial court erred in issuing a permanent all contractors bidding on this work shall comply with in any form made at or near the time by or from information transmitted by a invitation forbids including the specifications set forth in the invitation we interpret the language in rule 1103a to require that the contractor all provisions of the state licensing law for contractors the notice to contractors requires that bidding contractors comply with contractors who chose to bid on this licensing board and were required to be licensed in the metro council voted to award the contract to rmw crawford filed suit for a code title 46 part xxix rule 1103a states that its bid forms that entity is bound by those requirements entity had no authority to waive that requirement and in doing so acted in excess contractor may submit an authentic digital signature on the information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of added 0 7 subject to the public bid law the advertisement for bids clearly requires the unambiguous when a public entity elects to place recording of the meeting but only as to its admissibility as a time keeping device by any entity in a discussion of an earlier version of lsars 382212 a1b versus marked rejected and shall not be read aloud emphasis 1359 a political entity has no authority to take any action which is inconsistent powers la associated gen contr inc v calcasieu parish school bd 586 construction language of lsars 382212 a1b is clear and licensing board for contractors in the classification of municipal and public 2011 ca 0377 majority opinion correctly recognizes the public bid laws clear and unambiguous 20041944 la app 1st cir 92805 924 so 2d 178 18283 citing turner v 22 2010 as it stands now the authority agency cannot waive injunction where the rights to that injunction had not been proved by a recording we will not disturb that finding this assignment of error lacks merit it shall also be the responsibility of the general approval of rmds license classification occurred exactly four hours and fiftyfour judgment for the reasons that follow we affirm except as otherwise provided herein if the bid does not on appeal from the 19 judicial district court must have qualified and the classification must have been obtained prior to the 4 while the language of addendum no 1 clearly states that the date of the opening of bids was postponed this is an appeal of a judgment that granted a request for preliminary by a week the deadline for receiving bids was not specifically extended however it appears from the at the trial of the matter rmd called ms kris fitch to testify she stated that determined that rmds bid was responsive were not met in this case such administrative assistants as are necessary and to fix their iii the classif requirement received after 200 pm on the same day and date july active license be awarded contracts either by bid or through the parish of east baton rouge works construction emphasis added bids were to be submitted prior to if standard ofreview board for contractors in the classification of municipal we find no clear abuse of discretion by the trial court in admitting the audio broadmoor 867 so2d at 657 uniform public works bid form 382211 et seq louisianaspublic bid law which provides that public work and public works construction classification following a hearing the trial court ashley beck parish of east baton rouge soliciting bids for project number 09psbd0037 known as standby generator first circuit licensed by the contractors licensing board e3ex3 contractor shall certify that he holds an active license under the in lieu of at 200 pm on july 22 we find the following provisions of lsars372153 applicable to this case number in order to meet the requirements of this paragraph construction classification at the time its bid was submitted mr harmon testified that the sewer project was under his direct supervision contractors certification this language can only be interpreted to mean that the rs 3721502163 as amended for all public contracts interested party may bring suit in the district court through summary proceeding to enjoin the award of a ordering that defendantsappellants the city of baton rouge and the parish of east entered into in violation of this part lsars 382220b the district court is thus exercising its all costs of this appeal are assessed to the intervenor rmd holdings ltd and the provisions of this chapter and show his license number on the an active license issued by the louisiana state licensing bid envelope in the case of an electronic bid proposal a affirmed baton rouge la 2010 we conclude that the mere submission of an application to the licensing on july 16 2010 the baton rouge department of public works sewer contain the contractors certification and show the seq contractors because the notice to contractors required that all bidding 4 the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness unless the source of contractors to comply with all provisions of the state licensing law for the then chief justice calogero concurred and pointed out that there is determination that rmdsbid was in compliance with the bid requirements and in trustworthiness are not excluded by the hearsay rule and are admissible in court ostrowe 20011935 la app 1 cir 92702 828 so2d 1212 1216 writ denied the primary issue to be resolved in this appeal is whether rmd was a state of louisiana started at that time and the recording ran straight through the meeting a yes they were 3 frank gremillion city of baton rouge and the honorable todd hernandez judge presiding municipal building the purpose of establishing the time of the approval of rmds license among other duties she is the custodian of records for the licensing board and that the project crawford alleged that rmd was not a responsive bidder because at postponed and d the public bid law is a prohibitory law founded on public policy and the with the bid opening and the evidence supports the claim that the application for seven 7 calendar days bids will beopened at 2 00 conclusion would have been rejected notice to contractors required that at the time of the submission of its bid the baton rouge la no level playing field for the bidders on public projects unless all of them are interruption of the recording as such she stated with certainty that the audio rmd holdings ltd rmd intervenorappellant and baton rouge appeal the because we find that a reasonable basis exists for the inference that rmds 2 required classification has been previously obtained at the time the bid is during a meeting of the louisiana state licensing board for contractors the a the board shall have the power to make bylaws rules and according to the recording the meeting lasted five hours and 2 minutes and the public works construction and all bids must be received by 200 pm july 29 additional license classification was not awarded until after 200 pm based on the board for said classification is insufficient rather we conclude that the meeting straight through to the end counsel offered the recording to the court downloaded and publicly read aloud along with all paper she personally attended the meeting on july 29 2010 she stated that it was the ordinarily enjoin a municipal body from acting under the guise of its legislative authority 20040211 la 31804 867 so2d 651 and necessary to carry out the intent of the provisions of this chapter of the bid opening who did not possess the required to comply with the bid documents broadmoor 867 so2d at 664 a server and then a cd recording is made for the official document executive director for the licensing board and mr bryan harmon the deputy all licensed contractors bidding in the amount of 50000 or in and for the parish of east baton rouge regulations for the proper administration of this chapter to employ the audio recording of the meeting introduced by crawford at the trial was bidding contractors must hold an active license issued by the louisiana state engineering division issued an addendum no 1 to all prospective bidders 5 original jurisdiction and not acting as a court of review of an administrative decision contractor chose to submit a bid at the time rmd was the lowest bidder but was not approved for the municipal and public 200 pm on july 29 2010 rmd and crawford submitted bids for the project classification of municipal and public works public works construction classification on its general contractorslicense when regular business practice of the licensing board to record the hearings she further q am i correct then in assuming that if a classification and in finding that crawford supported its claims by a alleged evidentiary errors first on appeal and note that the trial court is granted rmd alleges that the trial court erred in admitting the audio recording of the installations for sewer lift stations the notice to contractors stated that for impossible for rmd to hold an active license with the requisite classification at the the louisiana supreme court has recognized that law and analysis director of public works for the baton rouge department of public works checked the licensing and public works construction and must show their i a yes person with knowledge if made and kept in the course of a regularly conducted pm thursday july 29 2010 in room 312 of the contractorslicense number on the bid envelope the bid shall continuously from start to finish she explained that the audio is first recorded onto it was stipulated that crawfordsbid was responsive and was the second lowest bid therefore the any requirements contained in its bid requirements the pm on july 29 2010 g trippe hawthorne rmd holdings ltd iv burden of proof director of public works for the department of public works crawford also negotiation all architects engineers and awarding authorities business activity and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make boards website regarding rmds license and required classification because the website did not city of baton rouge and and that he determined that the job required the municipal and public works electronic bid proposal accompanied by the contractorslicense


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