Justia Government Contracts Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Employment Law
Affiliated Constr. Trades v. W. Va. Dep’t of Transp.
In 2003, the Division of Highways (DOH) let out a public highway construction contract to Nicewonder Contracting. The Affiliated Construction Trades Foundation (ACT) filed a declaratory judgment action against the DOH and Nicewonder, alleging that the construction contract violated state and federal law because the DOH did not seek public bids for the project and there was no prevailing wage clause in the contract. Upon remand from the district court, the circuit court granted Nicewonder's motion for summary judgment, finding ACT lacked standing. The Supreme court reversed, holding that the appropriate standard to determine if an organization has representative standing to sue on behalf of its members is when the organization proves that (1) at least one of its members would have standing to sue in their own right; (2) the interests it seeks to protect are germane to the organization's purpose; and (3) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual members in the lawsuit. The Court found that ACT met all three prongs and thus had representative standing to seek the declarations contained in its petition. View "Affiliated Constr. Trades v. W. Va. Dep't of Transp." on Justia Law
Ahrens v. South Carolina
This case involves the State's "working retiree program," and the propriety of its withholding retirement contributions from eligible members who returned to work with the state prior to July, 2005. Before that time, the program allowed employees to retire, then after a break, be re-hired and receive retirement benefits and a salary of up to $50,000 per year without having to pay into the pension plan. The State was ordered to refund any contributions made since July, 2005 by program members. In 2005, the State Retirement System Preservation and Investment Reform Act amended the program to require retired members pay the employee contribution as if they were active members but without accruing additional service credit. The State appealed the circuit court's order to refund the contributions. The retirees challenged the change in the program, arguing that it was unlawful for the State to change the terms of the working retiree program after the retirees "irreversibly retired" with the understanding that contributions to the pension plan would not be required. Upon careful consideration of the arguments and legal authority, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court's holding with respect to the State's return of contributions since 2005. The Court found that the Legislature enabled the State to take the contributions when it amended the program by Act in 2005. The Court dismissed the Retirees' challenge to the State Retirement System Preservation and Investment Reform Act, finding no merit in their argument. View "Ahrens v. South Carolina" on Justia Law