Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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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 Barrickā€™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