For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub, and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For reversal -- None.
[43 NJ Page 546] Defendant C. J. Langenfelder & Son, Inc., as the lowest bidder, was awarded a contract by the New Jersey Expressway Authority, for construction work on a section of the Atlantic City Expressway. Plaintiff, claiming to be the lowest bidder, sought in this action to have the award to Langenfelder set aside and to have itself declared entitled to the contract. The trial court denied relief. We certified
plaintiff's ensuing appeal before it was argued in the Appellate Division.
All bidding was on a unit price basis and submitted on forms supplied by the Authority. The specifications in part provided:
"* * * The Bidder shall state in the form of proposal, in words and figures, the price per unit of measure for each scheduled item of work for which he will agree to carry out the work, and shall show, in figures only, the products of the respective estimated quantities and the unit prices bid therefor, and, in figures and words, the Total Price for the performance of the Project obtained by adding the amounts of the several items.
All words and figures shall be typewritten or written in ink. In case of a discrepancy between the prices written in words and those written in figures, the written words shall govern.
For the purpose of comparison of bids received, the Total Price, as correctly determined from the estimated quantities listed in the Proposal and the prices per unit of measure bid respectively therefor, will be considered to be the amount bid for the Project, and award will be made on the correct Total Price." (Emphasis added)
Obviously the purpose of the requirement for use of words and figures, with the controlling factor to be the words, was to provide a standard guide to be used in instances of discrepancy, ambiguity or conflict.
The proposal contained 138 items, with the total approximate quantities or units running into many thousands. One item representing 26 units provided the source of this litigation. It related to the bid per acre for stripping the top soil from an area of 26 acres. The proposal form and the manner in which Langenfelder's bid was expressed is as follows:
Approximate and Bid Price Unit
"Item No. Quantities (Written in Words) Price Amounts
-------- ---------- ------------------ ...