Deference Given To Procuring Public Agency Regarding Material Deviation

Forklift in manufacturing facility

The existing principle of law inclines toward judicial deference in public agency competitive bidding disputes.

April 10, 2019
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Deference will be given to a procuring public agency in a bid protest, particularly when the issue involves whether a bid is non-responsive and constitutes a material deviation from the solicitation. You do not believe me? Perhaps you will after this holding in Biscayne Marine Partners, LLC v. City of Miami, Florida, 44 Fla.L.Weekly D467a (Fla. 3d DCA 2019):

Consequently, no principle of law is clearly established…as to any obligation of the trial court (and, by analogy, an administrative hearing officer) [in a bid protest] to decide or to defer [whether a bid constitutes a material deviation from the solicitation]. If anything, the existing and clearly established principle of law inclines toward judicial deference in public agency competitive bidding disputes when the agency has exercised it discretion absent illegality, fraud, oppression or misconduct.

I do not know about you, but that last underlined sentence is pretty strong language regarding judicial deference!

In this case, Miami (the procuring public agency) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the redevelopment and lease of waterfront property, for the operation of a marina, boatyard, restaurant, wet slips, and a dry storage facility on the property. Miami issued five addenda to the RFP. There were three bidders.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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