Contractor Loses Recovery of Attorney’s Fees and Lost Profits in CCI Case

Kegler Brown Construction Alert

In a case of great interest to public entities and the contractors who bid their construction work, the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled against a contractor trying to recover attorney’s fees and lost profits from the municipality that rejected its bid. Cleveland Constr. Inc. v. Cincinnati, 2008-Ohio-2337.

This bidding case was initiated by Cleveland Construction after it was rejected for the drywall work on the Cincinnati Convention Center in favor of Valley Interiors, who unlike Cleveland Construction, satisfied the SBE requirement in the bid solicitation. Cleveland Construction argued that its federal constitutional rights were violated through the denial of the contract.

The Ohio Supreme Court adopted the City of Cincinnati’s arguments that Cleveland Construction had no constitutionally-protected interest in the drywall contract because the City always had the ability to reject any bid if “not in the best interests of the City.” As a result, Cleveland Construction had no right to recover damages or fees of any kind. This Ohio Supreme Court case reinforces the broad discretion given public authorities in determining who is the “lowest and best” or “lowest, responsive and responsible” bidder on their construction projects.