Court Upholds Public School District Protection of Taxpayer Funds and Integrity of Competitive Bid System

Mark A. Sereni

Practice Area:Litigation

Outcome:Successful Trial Court Decision

Description:A June, 2010 decision of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas held that a public school district had exercised its lawful discretion when refusing to award a $11.5 million contract to a construction company. The case is Francis X. Thiel v. Marple Newtown School District, et al. Thiel, a resident acting on behalf of the construction company, sued the School District over its bid award decision. The Court found that the construction company (First State Sheet Metal, Inc. aka FS Mechanical) had not had a prior project of even $1 million and that not even that project involved any on-site work. The Court also found that First State had claimed multiple prior projects that were not its own, but instead belonged to another entity named Worth & Company, Inc. Additionally, documents submitted by First State showed that the company had a negative net worth. The Court held that the School District in making its decision had first conducted a full and careful investigation. The Court also held that in making its decision the School District did not abuse the discretion it enjoys under the law when it had found First State lacked integrity, experience, and financial qualification in regard to this bid.

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