West Group Law Attorneys Successfully Defend Client in Article 78 Challenge

West Group Law attorneys successfully defended a government client against an Article 78 proceeding in New York state court. Our client, a public benefit corporation, requested proposals for solid waste and recyclables collection services in a nearby village. Two proposals were submitted: one by the petitioner, and one by the competitor. Petitioner challenged the award of the contract to the competitor because the competitor’s pricing was higher than that of the petitioner. Petitioner alleged that General Municipal Law Section 103 and our client’s own procurement policy required that the award of public works contracts go to the “lowest responsible bidder.”

West Group Law attorneys filed a motion to dismiss. In the motion, we argued that the petitioner did not state a cause of action upon which relief could be granted because public benefit corporations are not subject to Section 103 of the General Municipal Law or any other low-bid laws. Section 103 only applies to “political subdivisions,” and public benefit corporations are not included in the statutory definition of “political subdivisions.” In the alternative, we argued that the decision by our client was not arbitrary and capricious because the request for proposals expressly stated that it would consider non-price factors, including the proposers past ability to comply with state and local environmental laws. Furthermore, our client’s thorough vetting of the petitioner found that the petitioner had a history of violations of both environmental and labor laws.

The court agreed with our arguments, finding that our client is not subject to the restrictions of General Municipal Law Section 103. The court further found that our client’s actions in choosing the competitor’s proposal complied with both state law and our client’s procurement policy. In so finding, the court took into account that our client had specifically written the request for proposals to identify which non-price factors it was considering and the evaluation process specifically examined all of those factors. Thus, the court ruled that our client had not acted arbitrarily and capriciously and that the petition did not state a claim upon which relief could be granted.