On November 30, 2023, the Appellate Division affirmed the Camden County trial court’s decision in Ernest Bock & Sons-Dobco Pennsauken Joint Venture v. Township of Pennsauken and Terminal Construction Corp., holding that the New Jersey Public Works Contractor Registration Act, N.J.S.A. 34:11-56.48 to -56.57 (“PWCRA” or the “Act”), applies to a joint venture formed for the sole purpose of bidding on a public works contract. In this case, the two joint venturers were separately registered, but did not register the joint venture entity in connection with a bid to construct a new public library and municipal complex in Pennsauken, NJ. The joint venture was awarded the bid, however, Terminal Construction (“Terminal”), the second lowest bidder challenged the first place bid on the basis that the bidder was not properly registered as required by the bid documents. The Township rejected the award to the first place bidder and awarded the bid to Terminal.
The joint venture appealed, however the Appellate Division rejected the appeal finding that the PWCRA registration requirement was mandatory, and upheld the rejection of the joint venture’s bid as materially defective under the Local Public Contracts Law, N.J.S.A. 40A:11-1 to – 60 (“LPCL”).
Going forward, all join venture entities should ensure that the joint entity is registered under the PWCRA in its own right.
See the court’s decision: https://www.njcourts.gov/system/files/court-opinions/2023/a3684-22.pdf