What Do You Mean I Was Nonresponsive?


Contractors who bid public jobs are likely familiar with the terms "responsive" and "responsible." Indeed, they signify prerequisites to the award of a public contract. A bid must be "responsive" to the agency's bid request and the agency must find the bidder to be "responsible."

The term "responsible bidder" is defined by the Public Contract Code as "a bidder who has demonstrated the attribute of trustworthiness, as well as quality, fitness, capacity, and experience to satisfactorily perform the public works contract." But, whether a particular response in a bid bears on the bidder's responsibility or simply his responsiveness to the bid request is not always clear. The distinction is important because, according the California case law, a bid rejected on the theory that the bidder is not responsible entitles the bidder to a hearing on the responsibility issue where certain minimal elements of due process must be afforded.

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