NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued December 2, 2013
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. L-1343-13.
Joseph A. Deer argued the cause for appellant (Bashwiner and Deer, LLC, attorneys; Mr. Deer, on the brief).
Raymond Reddington, Supervisory Assistant Corporation Counsel, argued the cause for respondent City of Jersey City (Jeremy Farrell, Corporation Counsel, attorney; Mr. Reddington, on the brief).
Shawn R. Farrell argued the cause for respondent Orchard Holdings, LLC (Cohen, Seglias, Pallas, Greenhall & Furman, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Farrell and Anthony M. Bottenfield, on the brief).
Before Judges Harris and Guadagno.
This is an action in lieu of prerogative writs that arises under a narrow provision of the Local Public Contracts Law (LPCL), N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 to -51. Plaintiff Diamond Construction —— the purported lowest responsible bidder for a road construction contract located in defendant City of Jersey City —— appeals from the April 29, 2013 order dismissing its complaint. We affirm.
The facts are undisputed; we glean them from the record presented to the Law Division. In December 2012 and January 2013, Jersey City solicited bids for a construction contract to improve highways and roads as part of the city's Summit Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements Project. The bid documents contained a Schedule of Required Submittals By Bidder, which, among many other things, required bidders to submit "certificates of experience of subcontractors listed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-16" either with their proposals or within twenty-four hours of bid opening. Non-compliance with this requirement was expressly noted as having the potential for the bid to be rejected. Moreover, bidders were required to present evidence of "New Jersey business registration certificates" and "public works contractor registration certificates" for a general contractor and all subcontractors listed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-16. Failure to comply with the latter obligation would result in a bid rejection.
On January 24, 2013, Jersey City received bid proposals from Diamond, respondent Orchard Holdings, LLC, and three other contractors. When the bids were opened, it was evident that Diamond had submitted the lowest bid, with Orchard in second place. A third bidder, Zuccaro Construction, had actually submitted the lowest bid, but it was disqualified because its bid proposal did not include a mandatory bid bond.
On February 1, 2013, after reviewing the details of each bid, Jersey City's purchasing director informed Diamond that its proposal was rejected for the following reason:
You named two electrical subcontractors in your bid proposal and the City is required by N.J.S.A. 40A:11-6(b) to reject your bid because you did not include a certificate with your proposal setting forth the scope of work that ...