Construction Law

Kenneth Slavens

If a general contractor lists a subcontractor in a response to a Request for Proposals, that does not create a basis for a cause of action in breach of contract or based upon promissory estoppel. Jamison Electric, LLC v. Dave Orf, Inc., No. No. 98710 (Mo. App. E.D., April 9, 2013, 2012), Odenwald.

A public entity’s Request for Proposals required the general contractor to submit a list of the subcontractors which the general contractor intended to use and required the general contractor to use the listed subcontractors unless granted permission not to do so. A subcontractor submitted a bid to a general contractor on the project. The general contractor used the subcontractor’s bid and listed the subcontractor as an intended subcontractor. The general won the bid. However, the general contractor used a different subcontractor for the given scope of work. The subcontractor filed suit alleging breach of contract and promissory estoppel.

Held: Affirmed.
The court of appeals held that the claims failed due to the lack of a promise by the general contractor. The breach of contract claim fails because the Request for Proposal did not provide a basis for establishing a contract because it does not create a promise by the general contractor to the subcontractor. The promissory estoppel claim fails for the same reason.