News & Noteworthy

Authored - NJ Contract Law Update - Differing 'Ambiguity' Rule When Dealing With Public Bidding
NOVEMBER 06, 2013

In a prior article, "When Does an Ambiguity Require Strict Construction?" (July 31, 2013), an exception to the normal ambiguity rules was discussed; namely, certain ambiguities in connection with rights of first refusal in recorded instruments. Another interesting exception is highlighted in Aspen Landscaping Contracting Inc. v. A. Juliano & Sons, 2013 WL 4033705 (N.J.App.Div. August 9, 2013): namely, that if there is an obvious ambiguity in an invitation to bid on a governmental project, then the successful bidder cannot take advantage of that ambiguity to seek additional compensation. (Under the Aspen formulation, the obviousness of the ambiguity is a key issue.)

To the contract practitioner, this is simply another exception to the usual rules governing interpretation of ambiguities. It also highlights the need to consult with attorneys possessing substantial bidding-law experience when faced with a bidding contract or dispute.

Contact & Legal Disclaimer

Clark Alpert is the author of Guide to New Jersey Contract Law, published by the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, originally published in 2007 and updated in November 2011 and October 2013. His updates on New Jersey contract law are based on recent issues and practical methods for addressing similar situations in your practice or business. They are not intended to serve as legal advice. Clark welcomes your questions and comments.

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