Livingston Procurement Law
Case Studies
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Livingston Procurement Law has proven that
your penny bid means business in Maryland

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) invited unit-priced bids to construct foundations for the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River. The IFB allowed method of dredging from a nearby staging area and schedule of prices showed an estimated quantity of 44,700 cubic yards of dredging. Bidders were allowed to use other methods, however, such as placing the dredge equipment elsewhere on the site.

The second low bidder, from New York, offered a reasonable price ($11.20) per cubic yard of dredging because it intended to use that nearby staging area. The low bidder offered 1 penny per cubic yard because it intended to use different equipment that would require dredging merely 4,900 cubic yards.

The second low bidder protested, claiming that the penny price meant the bid was unbalanced and must be rejected as non-responsive. The low bidder argued that if it submitted a unit price for 44,700 cubic yards - work that it would never perform and SHA would never pay for - its bid would be artificially inflated. SHA denied the protest, among other reasons, because the low bidder's bid was not materially unbalanced. The MSBCA, as well as circuit court, upheld award of the contract to the low bidder.

Penny bids might be illegal in New York, but not in Maryland.

Appeal of Pile Foundations, MSBCA, 1999 approx

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