Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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This appeal involved the collective negotiations agreements CNAs between: (1) Atlantic County and the Fraternal Order of Police, Atlantic Lodge #34 (FOP Lodge 34); (2) Atlantic County and the Atlantic County Prosecutor s Office, P.B.A. Local #77 (PBA Local 77); and (3) Bridgewater Township and the Policemen s Benevolent Association, Local #174 (PBA Local 174). Atlantic County informed FOP Lodge 34 and PBA Local 77 that when their respective CNAs expired the County would no longer implement the incremental salary scheme provided for in those contracts. Both unions filed charges with the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC or the Commission), claiming that Atlantic County had engaged in an unfair labor practice, contrary to the Employer-Employee Relations Act (EERA). The hearing examiner agreed with the unions and found that Atlantic County's departure from the dynamic status quo, in this case, the refusal to pay automatic increments, constituted a unilateral change in a mandatory subject of negotiations in violation of the [EERA]. Atlantic County petitioned PERC for review, and the Commission came to the opposite conclusion. All three unions appealed. The Appellate Division consolidated the cases and reversed the Commission. The New Jersey Supreme Court did not determine whether, as a general rule, an employer must maintain the status quo while negotiating a successor agreement. In these cases, the governing contract language required that the terms and conditions of the respective agreements, including the salary step increases, remain in place until a new CNA is reached. Therefore, the judgment of the Appellate Division was affirmed on other grounds. View "In the Matter of Atlantic County" on Justia Law

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In February 1995, the State executed a contract with Perini Corporation to design and build South Woods in Bridgeton (the Project), a twenty-six building medium- and minimum-security correctional facility. Perini subcontracted with L. Robert Kimball & Associates, Inc. as the architect and engineer. Defendant Natkin & Company was designated the principal contractor for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). The design that Kimball provided to Perini included an underground HTHW distribution system to serve the entire Project. It also included a central plant from which the hot water was distributed to the various buildings that comprised the Project. Perma-Pipe, Inc. manufactured the underground piping used in the HTHW system. Natkin furnished and installed the underground piping system and the boilers and heat exchangers housed in the central plant. Defendant Jacobs Facilities, Inc. (formerly known as CRSS Constructors, Inc.), was retained by the State to provide construction oversight services. In 2008, the State filed a complaint against Perini, Kimball, Natkin, Jacobs, and Perma-Pipe in which it alleged that the HTHW system failed in March 2000, and on several subsequent occasions, and that these failures were caused by various defects including design defects, defective site preparation for the pipes, defective pipes, and deficient system design. The State asserted breach of contract against Perini, negligence and professional malpractice against Kimball, negligence and breach of contract against Natkin, and breach of contract against Jacobs. Against Perma-Pipe, the State asserted a claim under the New Jersey Products Liability Act (PLA), as well as breach of implied warranties, negligence, and strict liability in tort. All defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Project was substantially complete well before April 28, 1998, and that, therefore, the statute of repose barred the State's complaint. The Appellate Division reversed the orders granting summary judgment in favor of defendants Perini, Kimball, Natkin, and Jacobs. The panel held that the statute of repose was triggered when defendants substantially completed their work on the entire project, no earlier than May 1, 1998, the date when the minimum-security unit and garage were certified as substantially complete. After its review, the Supreme Court held that the statute of repose does not begin to run on claims involving an improvement that serves an entire project (including those parts constructed in multiple, uninterrupted phases) until all buildings served by the improvement have been connected to it. In addition, the Court held that the statute of repose did not apply to claims relating solely to manufacturing defects in a product used in the HTHW system. View "New Jersey v. Perini Corporation" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-petitioner Matthew Barrick challenged the award of a contract for the lease of office to the lowest bidder by the New Jersey Division of Property Management and Construction. Barrick argued that the winning bidder's (RMD) proposal failed to satisfy the distance-to-public-transportation requirement because its property was located .58 miles from the nearest bus stop. The Division determined that none of the bid properties, including Barrick’s, were located within one-quarter mile of public transit. After consultation with the DOL, the Division decided that the proposals would not be deemed non-conforming based on the distance requirement since it was not imposed by statute or regulation and each property was close enough to public transportation to meet the DOL's needs. Barrick sought reconsideration and to supplement the record. The Division upheld the award to RMD, explaining that, although Barrick's property satisfied the distance requirement, it had determined prior to awarding the lease that the requirement was not outcome-determinative. Barrick appealed without seeking a stay of the agency's decision. The Appellate Division panel reversed the award and remanded the matter to the Division either to award the lease to Barrick or rebid the project. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the Director's determination that the distance requirement was not material to the RFP was unassailably reasonable and the decision awarding the lease contract to RMB was not arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. View "Barrick v. New Jersey" on Justia Law