Franklin County’s Rejection of Bidder for Prevailing Wage Violations Found Improper

Kegler Brown Construction Alert

After deliberating for almost one (1) year, the Ohio Supreme Court has issued a ruling on the appeal of The Painting Company (and ABC) arguing that the rejection of its bid on the Franklin County Ballpark Project for alleged prevailing wage violations was improper.

The Ohio Supreme Court has found that The Painting Company demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the County abused its discretion by determining that it was not the “lowest and best” bid for the Ballpark contract. The Court based its decision in part on the fact that neither the bid standards or the project manual provided a definition of prevailing wage “violation.” Nor was there any definition of “violation” in the prevailing wage statutes. The Ohio Supreme Court concluded that the use of the term “violation” would simply refer to a situation where the State makes a formal finding that there was an intentional violation of the prevailing wage laws and all appeals had been exhausted. The Court went on to state that settlement agreements that resolved prevailing wage disputes do not constitute evidence of a “violation.”

Whether this decision results in a statutory change of the prevailing wage laws to more clearly set forth what constitutes a “violation” or whether there is some alteration of “Quality Contracting Standards” to try to exclude bidders who have prevailing wage problems remains to be seen. It is also unclear what remedy The Painting Company will have in that the Ballpark has already been built.