DeSilva Gates Construction, LP v. Dept. of TransportationAnnotate this Case
The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) and Papich Construction Company, Inc. appealed a trial court’s issuance of a writ of mandate to vacate the award of a public works contract to Papich. DeSilva Gates Construction submitted the second-lowest bid (the first bidder was disqualified for a non-responsive bid), and included the names and description of work by all subcontractors slated to perform work exceeding one-half of one percent of the bid amount. DeSilva later sent a letter to CalTrans noting DeSilva had inadvertently supplied CalTrans with additional information on the subcontractor list "above and beyond what was required." DeSilva explained it had not listed "All Steel Fence" as a subcontractor in its bid because the value of the bid items it would perform was less than one-half of one percent of the bid and the information for All Steel Fence (submitted within 24 hours of the bid) was additional information that was not required. Papich challenged DeSilva’s bid as having changed the subcontractor list. CalTrans rejected DeSilva’s bid as nonresponsive. DeSilva protested CalTrans’s determination that its bid was nonresponsive and protested Papich’s bid. The trial court granted the writ on grounds CalTrans erroneously rejected DeSilva's bid, and erred by awarding the contract to Papich despite Papich’s failure to comply with a material requirement of the information for bids. On appeal, CalTrans and Papich argued DeSilva’s bid was nonresponsive. Appellants also argued CalTrans had discretion to waive Papich’s mistake in failing to acknowledge the addendum to the information for bids. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court did not err. DeSilva’s disclosure of a subcontractor performing work amounting to only one-tenth of one percent of the total value of the contract was not required by the Public Contract Code or CalTrans’s information for bids. The additional information was accurate, albeit unnecessary, and did not render DeSilva’s bid nonresponsive. By contrast, CalTrans initially declared Papich’s bid to be nonresponsive and then waived Papich’s mistake and determined the bid to be responsive. The Court concluded CalTrans abused its discretion by awarding Papich the contract. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the trial court’s issuance of the writ of mandate.