Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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This case involved a written contract between a vendor and a state agency that contained form language stipulating that amendments had to be in writing and executed by the agency and the contractor. Appellant Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) entered into the contract in question with appellee RTT Associates, Inc. (RTT) to have some computer software developed for the agency. RTT asserted that the contract was extended by course of conduct as well as by certain internal writings created by the agency. By the terms of Georgia’s constitution, the state waived its sovereign immunity for breach of contract when it enters into a written contract. At issue was whether an agency’s waiver of immunity from a breach of contract claim as a result of entering into a written contract remained intact in the event the contract was extended without a written document signed by both parties expressly amending the contract, as required by its terms. The trial court concluded sovereign immunity was not waived beyond the required completion date of the contract, but the Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, finding RTT failed to complete its contractual obligations before the contract expired. "Even if the parties’ conduct after the expiration of the contract could be found to demonstrate an agreement between the parties to continue to perform under the original contract, as a matter of law neither that conduct nor the internal documents created by DOL after the contract expired establishes a written contract to do so. Without a written contract, the state’s sovereign immunity from a contract action is not waived." View "Georgia Dept. of Labor v. RTT Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

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Mike Layer built a sewer pumping station for Barrow County, and he allegedly entered into an agreement with the County pursuant to which he would retain an interest in a portion of the pumping capacity at the station. Layer, however, failed to get this alleged agreement in writing. After he was refused his alleged interest in the pumping capacity, Layer sued Barrow County, the City of Auburn, and a host of county and city officials (in both their official and individual capacities), asserting breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, and an unconstitutional taking of his property without just compensation. The trial court dismissed his lawsuit, and Layer appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Layer v. Barrow County" on Justia Law

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Appellants Larry Savage, Richard Pellegrino, and Tucker Hobgood challenged a trial court’s validation of revenue bonds that will be used to help finance a new stadium in Cobb County for the Atlanta Braves major league baseball team. The bonds for the stadium project were to be issued pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement between Cobb County and the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, under which the Authority agreed to issue bonds to cover much of the cost of constructing the stadium and the County agreed to pay amounts sufficient to cover the bond payments not covered by the licensing fees paid by the team. In consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court concluded that the intergovernmental contract was valid; that the issuance of the bonds would not violate the Georgia Constitution’s debt limitation clause, gratuities clause, or lending clause or Georgia’s revenue bond laws; and that the process used to validate the bonds was not deficient. The Court therefore affirmed the trial court’s judgment validating the stadium project bonds. View "Savage v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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The Georgia Supreme Court granted a discretionary appeal of Elbert County, its Board of Commissioners, and the County Manager (collectively, “the County”) of a superior court order that, inter alia, granted a declaratory judgment to the effect that the Elbert County Solid Waste Disposal Ordinance was unconstitutional, denied the County’s motion to dismiss, and issued a writ of mandamus requiring the County to reasonably consider the site proposed by Sweet City Landfill, LLC and its members for a solid waste landfill. Taking each of the County's contentions of error in turn, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in its decision as to all. The case was remanded therefore for further proceedings. View "Elbert County v. Sweet City Landfill, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDOC) entered into a construction contract with Lewis Walker Roofing (Walker Roofing) to re-roof several buildings at Valdosta State Prison. The Contract contained two “no assignment” clauses, and as a prerequisite to contracting with GDOC, Walker Roofing was required to obtain payment and performance bonds. It obtained such payment and performance bonds from Developers Surety and Indemnity Company. Walker Roofing did not complete its work within the time frame required by the Contract, and GDOC declared Walker Roofing in default. Developers Surety did not notify GDOC within 25 days of receipt of GDOC's notice of default regarding whether it would remedy the default or perform the contract. However, approximately three months after the declaration of default, Developers Surety gave GDOC the option of entering into a contract with another company for the completion of the work. GDOC then contracted with that company to finish the project. Under the payment and performance bonds and prior to Walker Roofing's default, Developers Surety had provided financial assistance to Walker Roofing. Developers Surety filed suit against GDOC for breach of contract and for a declaratory judgment that it had no obligation under the payment and performance bond it issued to Walker Roofing on behalf of GDOC. GDOC filed a counterclaim for breach of contract. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment, and the trial court determined that Developers Surety's claims were not barred by sovereign immunity and that GDOC had breached the construction contract as a matter of law. It concluded that GDOC waived its sovereign immunity by entering into the contract with Walker Roofing, and that the doctrine of equitable subrogation gave Developers Surety the ability to file suit against GDOC once it incurred liability and paid the obligations of its principal under the bond. Consequently, the trial court granted summary judgment to Developers Surety and denied it to GDOC; in the same order, the trial court entered judgment in favor of Developers Surety in the amount equal to the "financial assistance" Developers Surety provided to Walker Roofing. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to the Court of Appeals to consider whether the State’s sovereign immunity was waived for the claim Developers Surety made on its contract with the State. The Supreme Court found that immunity was indeed waived in this instance, and accordingly, it affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals. View "Georgia Dept. of Corrections v. Developers Surety & Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from complaints filed by appellants Advanced Disposal Services Middle Georgia, LLC and Lowndes County, seeking injunctions prohibiting appellee Deep South Sanitation, LLC from providing solid waste collection and disposal services in the unincorporated areas of Lowndes County in violation of a newly enacted Lowndes County ordinance. The trial court denied appellants' requests for injunctive relief, and they appealed. The trial court determined that injunctive relief could not be granted in favor of appellants because enforcement of the Ordinance would violate Deep South's due process rights by interfering with its right to conduct business in the same manner as before enactment of the Ordinance. Because Deep South's substantive due process defense involved neither a suspect class nor a fundamental right, the Supreme Court applied a rational relationship test to determine whether enforcement of the Ordinance against Deep South would violate due process. Applying this test, the Court concluded the trial court erred by holding that enforcement of the Ordinance against Deep South would violate its due process rights. Furthermore, the Court found the trial court erred that the County's enforcement of the Ordinance through an injunction would have violated Deep South's substantive due process rights. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "Advanced Disposal Services Middle Georgia, LLC v. Deep South Sanitation, LLC" on Justia Law

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Woodard & Curran, Inc. ("W&C") sued the City of Baldwin seeking damages on claims of breach of contract and quantum meruit. After a trial, a jury awarded W&C $203,000 in a general verdict that did not specify the basis for the damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider two issues: (1) whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that quantum meruit was an available remedy against a municipality when the claim is based on a municipal contract that is ultra vires; and (2) whether the Court of Appeals erred in determining that the jury was properly allowed to consider the breach of contract claim based on an agreement the parties entered in May 2009. Upon review, the Court concluded that the Court of Appeals erred in both respects, and therefore reversed its judgment. View "City of Baldwin v. Woodard & Curran, Inc." on Justia Law

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In 1969, the Cities of Atlanta and College Park entered into an agreement for purposes of expanding Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. One of the provisions of the granted Atlanta the exclusive right to collect and levy occupation taxes from businesses located at the Airport that were within the city limits of College Park. In 2007, after commissioning a study for the purpose of reassessing this relationship, College Park informed Atlanta and Airport businesses that it would no longer honor the 1969 Agreement and that it would seek to collect occupation taxes from the Airport businesses including Atlanta's proprietary business operations. Atlanta filed a declaratory action in seeking a judgment that the 1969 Agreement controlled the collection of occupation taxes from businesses operating at the Airport within College Park. Both Atlanta and College Park moved for partial summary judgment, and, in ruling on the cross motions, the trial court found that Atlanta and College Park's 1969 Agreement was unenforceable. The trial court further ruled that OCGA 48-13-13 (5), which prohibited local governments from levying an occupation tax on any "local authority," precluded College Park from levying an occupation tax on Atlanta's proprietary operations because Atlanta met the definition of a "local authority" under the statute. Both parties appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment invalidating the 1969 Agreement, but reversed the trial court's finding that the term "local authority" as used in OCGA 48-13-13 (5) included smunicipalities. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the Court of Appeals was correct in its determination that the City of Atlanta was not a "local authority" as that term is used in the statute. View "City of Atlanta v. City of College Park" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a contractual dispute between the city and its contractor and sub-contractor concerning the design and construction of an underground parking garage. At issue was whether the city's petition for a writ of certiorari to the court of appeals to decide whether that court erred when it determined the trial judge did not err when, having been presented with a motion to recuse him, he denied the motion rather than referred it to another judge. The court held that, since the affidavits at issue raised a reasonable question about the trial judge's impartiality that required the assignment of the motion to recuse to another judge, the court of appeals erred when it affirmed the trial judge's denial of the motion to recuse for failure to meet the requirement of USCR 23.5. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Mayor & Alderman of the City of Savannah v. Batson-Cook Co., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed from an order granting summary judgment to defendant for the alleged breach of an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) entered into by the parties for the distribution of funds generated by a special sales tax instituted pursuant to the Homestead Option Sales and Use Tax Act (HOST), OCGA 48-8-100 et seq. At issue was whether the IGA was unconstitutional as violative of the Intergovernmental Contracts Clause of the Georgia Constitution, 1983 Ga. Const., Art. IX, Sec. III, Par. I(a). The court held that the IGA was not a valid intergovernmental contract where the IGA was neither a contract for services or one for the use of facilities, but a revenue-sharing contract. Therefore, summary judgment was properly granted to defendant.