Skip to main content



D.A. Nolt, Inc. v. Camden County College

A-0893-07T1 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2008) (Unpublished)

PUBLIC BIDDING; SUBCONTRACTORS — The requirement that subcontractors be listed on bids is to prevent contractors from substituting themselves, or subcontractors willing to do the job for cheaper than the listed subcontractor, and then pocketing the difference.

A general contractor submitted a bid proposal for a construction project at a county college. The contractor, as required, listed the name of a subcontractor who was to perform masonry work and also provided evidence of performance security for the subcontractor. The contractor indicated on the bid proposal that since its company met the criteria for a woman-owned or minority-owned company, the proposal met the targeted level of twenty-five percent of the work to be performed by a business owned by women or minorities. The college accepted the proposal and entered into an agreement with the contractor which included a provision that made the contractor solely responsible for all aspects of the job. One month after the agreement was executed, the contractor told the college that it, instead of the subcontractor, would perform the masonry work. The college refused to permit the contractor to substitute itself for the subcontractor and instead entered into a contract directly with the subcontractor to perform the masonry work.

The contractor sued the college for breach of contract on the grounds that since it, the contractor, had control of all aspects of the job under the agreement, the college wrongly denied it the right to substitute itself for the subcontractor. Following the lower court’s denial of the contractor’s claims, the Appellate Division, on appeal, pointed out that a party to a contract could object to the substitution of a subcontractor if such objection was reasonable. It found that the college reasonably refused to allow the substitution of the subcontractor that was to perform the masonry work. It found the contractor’s argument, that by substituting itself for the subcontractor it was encouraging the use of women and minority-owned businesses, to be disingenuous. The Court added that the requirement that subcontractors be listed on bids was to prevent contractors from substituting themselves, or subcontractors willing to do the job for cheaper than the listed subcontractor, and then pocketing the difference. Based on its findings and conclusions, the Court affirmed the lower court’s decision disallowing the contractor to substitute itself for the subcontractor.


MEISLIK & MEISLIK
66 Park Street • Montclair, New Jersey 07042
tel: 973-783-3000 • fax: 973-744-5757 • info@meislik.com