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Electric company sues school district over contract dispute

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When a business deals with a government agency, there are generally some rules and regulations that must be followed. Some of these rules in Massachusetts and elsewhere apply to how a government entity deals with accepting bids from contractors to fulfill needed projects. This was the case recently when Skeels Electric Co. sued a school district in a recent contract dispute.

The company's lawsuit against the school district is related to an electrical bid for a local elementary school. Skeels is arguing that the school district should not have accepted an electrical bid from a rival electric company, Edling Electric Inc., due to irregularities in Edling's bid. The lawsuit filed in early February has the potential to delay the opening of the elementary school.

The two companies were bidding on a job that had two components: an electrical part and a communications and technology part. Edling had originally bid for only the electrical part of the job, but then asked to change it to a combined bid. However, Edling waited until after the bid day had passed to do so. The school district, which was supposed to give the contract to the lowest bidder, ended up giving the contract to Edling.

The lawsuit claimed that the school district should not have given Edling the contract and is asking that the court order the contract be awarded to Skeels instead. This case shows how a contract dispute can lead to litigation in Massachusetts or elsewhere. Although many times it is better to find a solution out of court, if no settlement can be agreed upon both parties will have to present their legal arguments in the court of law. Based upon these legal points and the evidence presented, the judge will decide who shall prevail.

Source: The Bismark Tribune, "Contract dispute could push back Lincoln school construction," Hannah Johnson, Feb. 11, 2013

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