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Cardell Inc. v. Township of Madison

Decided: March 13, 1969.

CARDELL, INC., A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND J. RICHARD HUDANICH, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE TOWNSHIP OF MADISON, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION IN THE COUNTY OF MIDDLESEX, STATE OF NEW JERSEY, AND MANZO CONTRACTING CO., A CORPORATION OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANTS



Seidman, J.c.c. (temporarily assigned).

Seidman

In these proceedings in lieu of prerogative writ, plaintiffs Cardell, Inc., and J. Richard Hudanich seek to compel the defendant Township of Madison to award to the corporate plaintiff as low bidder a contract for resurfacing of various streets. Manzo Contracting Co., the codefendant, claims that it had been awarded the contract as the lowest bidder and that the municipality could not thereafter validly rescind the award and reject all bids. The inclusion of Hudanich, a resident and taxpayer of the municipality, as a plaintiff, is presumably technical in nature, designed to enable the raising of issues not available to a bidder. See Camden Plaza Parking v. City of Camden, 16 N.J. 150, 158 (1954).

Since the basic facts are not in substantial dispute, the parties agreed at pre-trial conference that the matter should be considered at final hearing as though on motions and cross-motions for summary judgment.

On or about October 1, 1968, the Township of Madison advertised for the receipt of bids for the resurfacing of various municipal streets. Cardell and Manzo, duly prequalified, submitted bids on the forms and in the manner prescribed by the specifications. The bids were opened at a council meeting held October 10, 1968. Cardell's proposal contained a grand total bid of $975,850.00; Manzo's bid was $898,810.00. Upon a tabulation by the municipal engineer, mathematical errors were discovered in Cardell's bid, which, the plaintiffs contend, reduced its bid to a corrected total of $873,250.00, thus making Cardell the lowest responsible bidder. The next night, at a special meeting of the Township Council, a resolution was adopted declaring Manzo the lowest bidder and awarding it the contract. On October 18, the plaintiffs filed their complaint in lieu of prerogative writ. At a subsequent special meeting held October 31, another resolution was adopted rescinding the one of October 11, rejecting all the bids, and directing the readvertising for new bids.

Cardell argues that the determination of the corrected bid price, having been done in accordance with the specifications, made it the lowest bidder; consequently, it should have been awarded the contract. The Township claims that the errors in the proposal invalidated Cardell's bid. With respect to Manzo, whose contention is simply that the award to it should be reinstated, the Township asserts that it reserved in the specifications the right to reject any and all proposals.

The form of proposal to be submitted by prospective bidders called for the submission of unit prices for seven items, with a stated total price bid for all items. Cardell's proposal was as follows:

"Item 1 Excavate and remove Pavement

and or unclassified Material

10,000 Cubic yards at $10.00 per C.Y.

Ten dollars and no cents $10,000.00

(Write Unit Price)

Item 2 Furnish and Place and Compact

Quarry Stone Type 5, Class A

10,000 Cubic Yards at $10.00 per C.Y.

Ten Dollars and no cents $100,000.00

(Write Unit Price)

Item 3 Water Valve Boxes Raised and

Maintained to Grade

350 Each at $25.00 per each

Twenty five Dollars and no cents $8,750.00

(Write Unit Price)

Item 4 Manholes Reset ...


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