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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on Dec 23, 2015

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

William J. Brown, Cleveland, Tennessee, and Martin R. Salzman, Atlanta, Georgia, for the appellant, Wright Brothers Construction Company, Inc.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andrée S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Rachel Harmon, Senior Counsel, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): BENNETT

Construction company bid on a state project that involved disposing of waste dirt from a construction site. Documents prepared by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (“TDOT”) identified nearby property that had a wet weather conveyance on it. The construction company made arrangements with the property owner to dump waste dirt on the neighboring property, and based on this anticipated cost, the construction company submitted a bid for the project. Before the State accepted the construction company?s bid, the wet weather conveyance was reclassified by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation as a stream. This change in classification meant that the construction company was no longer able to dump waste dirt on the neighboring property. TDOT learned of the reclassification prior to accepting the construction company?s bid, and it changed the project plans after it awarded the project to the construction company. The construction company incurred unexpected costs and delays as a result of the reclassification of the wet weather conveyance, but the State refused to compensate it as the construction company asserts the contract required. The construction company filed a breach of contract complaint against the State with the Tennessee Claims Commission, which the State moved to dismiss on the basis that the Commission lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim. The construction company then moved to amend its complaint to add a claim for the negligent preparation of plans. The Commission granted the State?s motion to dismiss and denied the motion to amend, and the construction company appeals. We reverse the Commission?s judgment that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the breach of contract claim, but we affirm its judgment denying the construction company?s motion to amend.