Justia New Hampshire Supreme Court Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Government Contracts
Conduent State & Local Solutions, Inc. v. New Hampshire Department of Transportation
Plaintiff Conduent State & Local Solutions, Inc. (Conduent) appealed a superior court order denying Conduent’s request for a declaration that defendant New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) exceeded its statutory authority, and, therefore, violated the separation of powers doctrine, by procuring from defendant Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc. (Cubic) a new system to support DOT’s electronic collection of tolls, using the “best value” method for evaluating competing bids. On appeal, Conduent argued the DOT had no statutory authority to procure the new system because procurement authority was given to the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services (DAS). Alternatively, Conduent claimed that even if the DOT had statutory authority to procure the new system, it lacked authority to use the “best value” method for evaluating competing bids. Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed denial of the declaration. View "Conduent State & Local Solutions, Inc. v. New Hampshire Department of Transportation" on Justia Law
City of Rochester v. Marcel A. Payeur, Inc.
The City of Rochester’s Department of Public Works owned and operated the Rochester Water System, which provided water to residents of the City. The City operated three water storage tanks, one of which is the Rochester Hill Water Storage Tank (the Tank). Whitman & Howard n/k/a AECOM Technical Services, Inc. (AECOM) designed the Tank and oversaw its construction by Chicago Bridge & Iron n/k/a CB&I, Inc. (CB&I). CB&I completed the Tank in 1985, and it was placed into service that same year. In June 2009, the City contracted defendant Marcel A. Payeur, Inc. (Payeur) to service the Tank by recoating the Tank’s interior and exterior, installing a mixer, and modifying the Tank to accommodate the mixer. Defendant Wright-Pierce performed the engineering and design work for the modification project. Payeur substantially completed the modification, under Wright-Pierce’s supervision, in November 2009. In December 2011, the Tank developed a leak. The City had to evacuate nearby residents, drain the Tank, and remove it from service. The City inspected the Tank and discovered that Payeur had failed to properly construct the modifications in accordance with Wright-Pierce’s design. The City filed suit against Payeur in November 2012, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, and unjust enrichment. In April 2014, the City named CB&I, AECOM, and Wright-Pierce as additional defendants. The City’s amended complaint alleged that Wright-Pierce had failed to properly supervise Payeur’s 2009 modification work; it also alleged that, in 1985, CB&I had failed to properly construct the Tank in accordance with AECOM’s design, and AECOM had failed to adequately monitor CB&I. CB&I and AECOM moved to dismiss the City’s claims against them, arguing that the claims were time-barred. The superior court dismissed the City’s claims against CB&I and AECOM pursuant to a six year statute of limitations in effect when CB&I and AECOM substantially completed their contract with the City. The City appealed, arguing the superior court erred in refusing to apply the doctrine of “nullum tempus occurrit regi (“time does not run against the king”). Finding no reversible error, the New Hampshire Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Rochester v. Marcel A. Payeur, Inc." on Justia Law
CaremarkPCS Health, LLC v. New Hampshire Dept. of Admin. Svc.
Respondent New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services (appealed a Superior Court order that granted summary judgment in favor of petitioner CaremarkPCS Health, LLC (Caremark). In 2010, the Department issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for pharmacy benefit management services for the State of New Hampshire’s health plan. In response to the RFP, Caremark submitted a bid, which ultimately led to a final negotiated contract with the Department. The Governor and Executive Council approved the contract on November 17, 2010. Both the bid and final contract included statements to the effect that certain information set forth in those documents is proprietary and constitutes trade secrets of Caremark. In 2011, the Department received multiple requests to inspect and copy Caremark’s bid and the final contract. Two of the requests were made by Caremark’s competitors. Caremark, after being informed by the Department of the requests, responded that certain confidential information contained in the bid and final contract was exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law. The parties disputed whether certain information was subject to disclosure. The trial court ruled that certain information constituting trade secrets under the New Hampshire Uniform Trade Secrets Acts (UTSA) was exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law. Specifically, the trial court ruled that disclosure of Caremark’s trade secrets by the Department would constitute a “misappropriation” under the UTSA and, therefore, that the subject information is exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law. On appeal, the Department argued that the trial court erred in finding that the UTSA prohibited the Department from disclosing Caremark’s trade secrets under the “otherwise prohibited by statute” exemption in RSA 91-A:4, I. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "CaremarkPCS Health, LLC v. New Hampshire Dept. of Admin. Svc." on Justia Law
Kassotis v. Town of Fitzwilliam
Petitioner Wayne Kassotis appealed a Superior Court decision dismissing his complaint, arising from the nonrenewal of his employment contract to remain as the Town of Fitzwilliam's Chief of Police. Petitioner filed a complaint against the Town seeking, among other things, reinstatement as Chief of Police, damages, costs, and attorney’s fees, for the Town’s alleged failure to comply with RSA 105:2-a, which provided procedural protections to appointed chiefs of police who are "dismiss[ed]." The Town moved to dismiss, arguing that, "[b]ecause the Petitioner was not dismissed, RSA 105:2-a does not apply, and he fails to state a claim for relief." The trial court granted the Town’s motion on the basis that "the provisions of RSA 105:2-a are inapplicable to the [Town’s] decision not to renew the employment contract." Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Kassotis v. Town of Fitzwilliam" on Justia Law
Victor Virgin Construction Corp. v. New Hampshire Dep’t of Transportation
Plaintiff Victor Virgin Construction Corporation appealed a Superior Court remitting a jury award following an advisory jury finding of breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation by defendant New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT cross-appealed, asking that the award be further reduced. In 2008, Virgin bid on a DOT project to replace a stone box culvert located underneath Depot Road in Hollis. Virgin submitted the lowest bid and was awarded the contract. After completion of the project, DOT paid Virgin the sum agreed to in the contract with only a minor upward adjustment. Virgin sued DOT for both breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation. The trial court denied DOT's request to bifurcate the trial; subsequently the jury found in favor of Virgin. DOT then moved for a new trial or to set aside the jury's damages award. The trial court granted remittitur, but did no enter a finding of liability on the breach of contract claim, finding that the award could only be sustained on the negligent misrepresentation claim. Virgin then appealed, seeking the full amount of damages awarded by the jury. The Supreme Court found that Virgin's negligent misrepresentation claim for money damages was capped by statute, therefore it was not entitled to the full amount of damages originally awarded by the jury. That cap does not apply to breach of contract, however, and because the trial court did not include findings with regard to liability on the breach of contract claim, the case was remanded for further proceedings. View "Victor Virgin Construction Corp. v. New Hampshire Dep't of Transportation" on Justia Law
Professional Fire Fighters of Wolfeboro, IAFF Local 3708 v. Town of Wolfeboro
Petitioners Professional Fire Fighters of Wolfeboro, IAFF Local 3708, president of the union and several firefighters appealed a superior court order that dismissed their suit against Respondent Town of Wolfeboro. The suit arose from the parties' negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The Union had ever been certified by the New Hampshire Public Employee Labor Relations Board (PELRB) as a bargaining unit. In July 2010, the parties met and agreed on ground rules governing the conduct of their future negotiations, including that "[a]fter October 1, 2010, either party [could] request mediation of the outstanding issues." Shortly thereafter, however, the negotiations broke down. At an August 2010 meeting, the Town's Board of Selectmen voted to rescind its recognition of the Union. The petitioners filed a verified petition for an ex parte temporary restraining order against the Town and requested temporary and permanent injunctive relief. After a hearing, the trial court granted the petitioners' requested temporary restraining order, and scheduled the matter for further hearing. The Town moved to dismiss the entire proceeding. Following a hearing, the trial court granted the Town's motion and vacated its temporary restraining order. The petitioners unsuccessfully moved for reconsideration. Upon review of the matter, the Supreme Court held that the portion of RSA 31:3 which grants municipalities the right to recognize unions and enter into collective bargaining agreements was superseded by the enactment of the PELRA, and, therefore, the Town had no authority to recognize the non-PELRB-certified Union. Accordingly, the agreement, as well as the subsequent agreements, were ultra vires contracts and wholly void. The Court affirmed the superior court's decision to dismiss Petitioners' case. View "Professional Fire Fighters of Wolfeboro, IAFF Local 3708 v. Town of Wolfeboro" on Justia Law