Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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Inclusion, Inc., Inclusion North, Inc., and Inclusion South, Inc., (collectively Inclusion) provided residential rehabilitation support services to Idahoans eligible for Medicaid. In September 2012, Inclusion filed a complaint against the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW), alleging IDHW breached binding Medicaid Provider Agreements by failing to adequately reimburse Inclusion for its services. In June 2013, Inclusion amended its complaint with unjust enrichment and quasi-estoppel claims. The district court granted summary judgment for IDHW, concluding no triable issue of fact supported Inclusion’s claims. IDHW then moved for attorney fees under Idaho Code section 12-120(3) and requested $74,925.00 in fees. The district court found that IDHW’s requested award was based on a reasonable amount of hours and a reasonable hourly rate, as determined by the Boise market. As the district court acknowledged, “the hourly rate requested is reasonable and certainly well within the rate in the marketplace in the Fourth District in Ada County, in particular.” Even so, the district court took issue with how IDHW’s requested award was not based on the actual hourly rate billed during litigation. As the district court explained, “[e]xcept where the award of attorney fees is paid to the lawyer, fees awarded to a party should not exceed the amount the client actually paid for the lawyer.” To that end, the district court multiplied 599.4 hours of work by $54.00 per hour1 to award a total of $30,857.11. IDHW moved to reconsider, but the district court upheld the award for $30,857.11. IDHW timely appealed, arguing the district court abused its discretion by basing the award on the amount billed by the Attorney General. The Supreme Court agreed, vacated the judgment and granted IDHW its requested award. View "Inclusion, Inc v. Id. Dept. of Health & Welfare" on Justia Law

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The issue in this appeal centered on whether a force majeure clause in a written contract between the county and a developer did not apply to the developer’s failure to obtain zoning approval in order to construct the cement plant required in the agreement. After review of the contract and the clause at issue here, the Supreme Court held that the clause was broad enough to apply. Accordingly, the Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded this case for further proceedings. View "Burns Concrete, Inc v. Teton County" on Justia Law

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This case involved a second set of appeals arising from an action challenging the bidding process for the Idaho Education Network (“IEN”). Syringa Networks, LLC, sued Qwest Communications, LLC, ENA Services, LLC, and the Idaho Department of Administration (“DOA”) and certain DOA employees, alleging injury arising from contract awards and amendments that DOA issued to Qwest and ENA related to the IEN. The district court dismissed all of Syringa’s claims. On appeal the Idaho Supreme Court held that Syringa had standing to pursue Count Three, which alleged that DOA violated Idaho Code section 67-5718A. Count Three was remanded to the district court for further proceedings. On remand, the district court entered partial summary judgment for Syringa on Count Three, holding that the amendments and the underlying contracts were void for violating state procurement law. The district court denied Syringa’s motion to order DOA to demand repayment of money advanced under the void contracts. The district court also awarded Syringa attorney fees. Syringa, Qwest, ENA, and DOA each appealed: Syringa appealed the district court’s denial of its request to order DOA to demand repayment from Qwest and ENA; the other parties appealed the district court’s grant of partial summary judgment to Syringa, arguing that the district court’s conclusions were procedurally improper and substantively incorrect for a variety of reasons. DOA also challenges the district court’s award of attorney fees to Syringa. Finding no reversible error in the district court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Syringa Networks v. Dept of Administration" on Justia Law

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Appellant, the Greater Boise Auditorium District, filed a petition for judicial confirmation (pursuant to Idaho Code section 7-1304) asking the district court for a determination that a lease the District intended to enter into did not violate the Constitution’s Article VIII, section 3 clause prohibiting a municipal body, without voter approval, from incurring indebtedness or liabilities greater than it has funds to pay for in the fiscal year. Respondent, Boise resident and property owner David Frazier, objected to the requested judicial confirmation, and appeared in the case to contest it. The district court denied the Petition for Judicial Confirmation and the District appealed. Frazier sought attorneys’ fees on appeal. After review, the Supreme Court reversed the district court’s denial of the District’s request for judicial confirmation and held that the agreements into which it entered satisfied Article VIII, section 3 of the Constitution. View "Greater Boise Auditorium District v. Frazier" on Justia Law

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This case was an appeal of a district court order awarding attorney fees to Ascorp, Inc. d/b/a Debco Construction (Debco) against the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) in a declaratory judgment action filed by ITD to determine rights of the parties with respect to a contract for highway construction services on a project in Twin Falls. The district court dismissed the action upon Debco’s motion under Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and awarded attorney fees to Debco under Idaho Code section 12-120(3). On appeal ITD argued that the district court erred in determining that the declaratory judgment action qualified as a dispute involving a commercial transaction required for the application of Idaho Code section 12-120(3). Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order. View "Idaho Transportation v. Ascorp, Inc." on Justia Law

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For many years, Idaho County had contracted for solid waste disposal services with Walco, Inc., and Simmons Sanitation Service, Inc., (Simmons Sanitation), with each entity covering a different portion of the county. In July 2012, the County entered into a contract with Simmons Sanitation for another ten-year term beginning on January 1, 2013. However, the County and Walco could not agree upon the terms of another ten-year contract commencing on January 1, 2013. Walco’s counsel informed the County that Walco would not accept the terms proposed by the County and suggested, “given the fact that this contract has not been bid for more than forty (40) years, that the contract should go out for bid.” The County decided not to solicit bids, but instead to solicit proposals for a contract to continue providing solid waste disposal services to that part of the county being served by Walco. The County Recorder received two envelopes containing responses to the request for proposals. One was from Walco and the other was from Simmons Sanitation. The proposals were opened at a public meeting of the county commissioners. Simmons Sanitation submitted a bid lower than that of Walco. A representative from Walco was at the meeting, but no representative of Simmons Sanitation attended. After the Commissioners reviewed the proposals, they had a short discussion with the representative from Walco. At the conclusion of the one meeting, the Commissioners voted to enter into contract negotiations with Simmons Sanitation. They did so, and on November 30, 2012, they entered into a contract for a ten-year term. Thereafter, Walco filed this action against the County and Simmons Sanitation, alleging a claim against the County for tortious interference with a prospective economic advantage and a claim against the County and Simmons Sanitation for misappropriation of Walco’s trade secrets. All of the parties filed motions for summary judgment. In response to the County’s motion, Walco conceded that its tortious interference claim should have been dismissed. The district court granted summary judgment to the Defendants on the claim that they had misappropriated Walco’s trade secrets, concluding that the dollar amount of Walco’s proposal did not constitute a trade secret because Walco had not taken reasonable steps under the circumstances to maintain the secrecy of that information. Walco filed a motion for reconsideration, which the district court denied after briefing and argument. Walco then appealed. Walco contended that one of the provisions in the request for proposals could reasonably be construed as indicating that the dollar amounts of the proposals would not be announced at a public meeting. The Supreme Court concluded that the district court did not err in holding that the dollar amount of Walco’s proposal did not constitute a trade secret because Walco did not make efforts that were reasonable under the circumstances to maintain the secrecy of that information. Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's dismissal of Walco’s complaint. View "Walco, Inc v. County of Idaho" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a protracted contract dispute arising out of the construction of Meridian’s new City Hall. The City brought suit against the project’s construction manager, Petra, Inc., alleging that Petra breached the parties’ agreement in a number of ways. The City further claimed that Petra was not entitled to any additional fees for its work. Petra counterclaimed, seeking an equitable adjustment of its construction manager fee. After trial, the district court entered its findings of fact and conclusions of law, ruling against the City on all but one of its claims and awarding Petra an additional fee for its services. The court awarded Petra $595,896.17 in costs and $1,275,416.50 in attorney fees, but stayed enforcement of the judgment pending appeal. The City appealed. Finding no error in the district court's judgment in favor of Petra, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Meridian v. PETRA Inc." on Justia Law

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In 2008, the legislature enacted legislation to establish the Idaho Education Network (IEN), which was to be a high-bandwidth telecommunications distribution system for distance learning in every public school in the state. Syringa Networks, LLC (Syringa), an Idaho telecommunications company, entered into a “teaming agreement” with ENA Services, LLC (ENA). Pursuant to their agreement, ENA submitted a proposal in response to a request-for-proposals (RFP) with the Department of Administration, although the cover letter stated that both ENA and Syringa were responding jointly to the proposal. Qwest Communications Company, LLC, and Verizon Business Network Services, Inc., also submitted responsive proposals. The proposals were then scored based upon specific criteria; the ENA and Qwest proposals received the highest scores. The Department issued a letter of intent to award contracts to Qwest and ENA. One month later, it issued amendments to the two purchase orders to alter the scope of work that each would perform. Qwest became "the general contractor for all IEN technical network services" (providing the “backbone”) and ENA became "the Service Provider." The effect of these amendments was to make Qwest the exclusive provider of the backbone, which was what Syringa intended to provide as a subcontractor of ENA. Syringa filed this lawsuit against the Department, its director, the chief technology officer, ENA and Qwest. The district court ultimately dismissed Syringa’s lawsuit against all of the Defendants on their respective motions for summary judgment. Syringa then appealed the grants of summary judgment, and the State Defendants cross-appealed the refusal to award them attorney fees. Upon review, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment dismissing all counts of the complaint except count three seeking to set aside the State's contract with Qwest on the ground that it was awarded in violation of the applicable statutes. Furthermore, the Court reversed Qwest’s award of attorney fees against Syringa. We remand to the trial court the determination of whether any of the State Defendants were entitled to an award of attorney fees against Syringa for proceedings in the district court. The Court awarded costs and attorney fees on appeal to ENA. Because the State Defendants and Syringa both prevailed only in part on appeal, the Court did not award them either costs or attorney fees on appeal. View "Syringa Networks v. Idaho Dept of Admin" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellant Dr. John Noak was dismissed as the medical director for Prison Health Services, Inc. (PHS). He appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC) on claims of breach of an implied covenant of good faith, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, and intentional interference with contract. A 2004 investigation into how Plaintiff treated a female inmate at an IDOC facility lead to IDOC demanding that PHS replace Plaintiff as medical director. Finding no error in the district court's judgment, the Supreme Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of IDOC. View "Noak v. Dept. of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The issue before the Supreme Court in this appeal was the City of Lewiston's rejection of a bid for a public works project on the grounds that the lowest bidder lacked sufficient experience for the project. In 2009, the City of Lewiston (City) advertised for bids to replace the irrigation system at the City golf course. Hillside Landscape Construction, Inc. (Hillside) desired to bid on the project, but prior to doing so it sent a letter to City stating that if City insisted upon having qualifications other than a current Idaho public works license to bid on the project, the City must follow the Category B procedures set forth in the Idaho Code and pre-qualify the bidders. Hillside asked that the qualification of prior experience be removed. City’s attorney denied the request, stating that City’s specifications and bidding process complied with state law. Hillside and four others submitted bids for the project. City notified the bidders that Hillside Landscape Construction submitted the lowest bid but that the company lacked the required experience specified within the bid documents. City awarded the contract to Landscapes Unlimited, the next lowest bidder. Hillside filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief, declaratory relief, and damages. The district court held that City complied with the bidding statutes, vacated a temporary restraining order, denied the motion for an injunction then dismissed Hillside’s complaint. In its review, the Supreme Court found that because the City chose to follow the "Category A" procedures set forth in the Idaho Code rather than the Category B procedures, the district court erred in holding that City could reject the bid on that ground. The Court therefore vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Hillside Landscape Construction, Inc. v. City of Lewiston " on Justia Law