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COA affirms judgment in favor of contractor in bid dispute

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has found that a school corporation seeking bids for renovations did not acquire the right to enforce a construction company’s mistaken bid.

In East Porter County School Corp. v. Gough, Inc., and Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. of America, No. 64A04-1109-PL-471, East Porter County School Corp. sought bids for additions and renovations. Bids had to be in by 2 p.m. Feb. 5, 2008, and the bids would be opened publicly at 2 p.m. Gough Inc. submitted a bid to complete certain work with a base bid amount of $2,997,000.

Just before the bids went public, Gough realized its bid was based on mistaken information within the company and tried to have the bid pulled. The company didn’t reach anyone with the school corporation until after 2 p.m. Gough’s was the lowest bid, so the school accepted it and tried to force Gough to honor the bid. Eventually the school approved the project to the second-lowest bidder and then sought to claim the bid bond Travelers Casualty and Surety has on the Gough bid. Travelers denied the claim.

Gough filed a complaint for declaratory judgment seeking that its bid be rescinded and its bid bond released. The trial court ruled in favor of Gough, granting summary judgment for Gough and Travelers and against the school.

“Based upon the record and under the circumstances presented in this case, we conclude that it is evident that there was not a meeting of the minds regarding the bid amount and thus that the School did not acquire the right to enforce Gough’s erroneous or mistaken bid,” wrote Judge Elaine Brown.

The appellate court cited Bd. Of Sch. Commr’s of City of Indianapolis v. Bender, 36 Ind. Ap. 164, 72 N.E. 154 (1904), in its decision. The judges also agreed with the trial court that Travelers should be released from its bid bond because Gough didn’t have any liability on the underlying contract.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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