Contractor Forfeits Bid Bond After Mistakenly Leaving Out "Thousand" in Written Proposal

A contractor tried to withdraw its bid on a public contract after realizing it left out the word "thousand" in its bid proposal, but the court ruled the contractor must forfeit its bid bond

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Originally published by Matthew DeVries on Best Practices Construction Law blog.

In Clark Construction Co. v. Alabama Highway Department, a highway contractor tried to withdraw its bid on public contract and have its bid bond returned after it made a mistake on a its written proposal.  In its bid submission for a bridge construction project in Mobile County, the contractor had listed a total bid amount of $1,119,609.  On a particular line item for Steel Bridge Superstructure, the contractor listed the amount of “$368,000” in numerical value, but had the words “Three Hundred Sixty Eight” immediately before the word “Dollars.”  The contractor mistakenly left out the word “Thousand” from its written bid.

After learning about the error, the contractor asked permission to withdraw its bid on the basis of the mistake, but the Department refused to permit the bid to be withdrawn.  The contractor then refused to accept the job, and so the Department forfeited the contractor’s $10,000 bid bond.  The trial court ruled in favor of the Department.

(more on the importance of double checking your written proposals...)