Project’s Site Engineer Owes no Duty to Bidding Contractor: Tom Dunn in Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly

The Rhode Island Supreme Court recently held that a general contractor that lost a bid to construct a sewer expansion in Warwick (RI) could not sue the engineering consultant that managed the RFP process for the city.

After an unsuccessful bid, the plaintiff sued the site engineer claiming that he was “negligent in recommending that the board of the Warwick Sewer Authority disqualify [him] for not submitting required EPA documentation.”

Pierce Atwood litigation and construction law partner R. Thomas Dunn pointed out that “even though the negligence claim failed with the duty analysis, the economic loss doctrine was no bar to such a claim here because there was no contract between the parties.” Tom also noted that the ruling provides “some protection to consultants who assist public authorities with contract procurement.”

“The decision is also a good reminder of the rigidity of the processes and procedures required for bidding on public projects. A contractor’s minor oversight to include certain forms specified in an RFP could provide sufficient grounds for disqualification.”

The complete article about this case appears in the February 21, 2019 edition of Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.