Free-for-All on Public Bidding

Kegler Brown Construction Newsletter

The Ohio Supreme Court, in the case of A&B-Abell Elevator Co. v. Elevator Constructors Union, et al., 73 Ohio St. 3d 1 (1995), has ruled that those providing information about bidders to public officials could make both true and false statements under a "qualified privilege" so long as such a person did not know that the statements were false or have serious doubts about the truth of the statements. This means that bidders who are the victim of false or negative comments from competitors, unions or others interested in bidding outcomes will likely have no real legal remedy against those criticizing them, due to the high level of proof required to prevail in such a case.

In view of this decision, there will likely be an increased level of backstabbing and in-fighting among competing bidders on public projects, and others interested in bidding outcomes such as labor unions.