/Algonquin Highlands pays $35000 in legal bills 

Algonquin Highlands pays $35000 in legal bills 

By Chad Ingram

Algonquin Highlands paid just less than $35000 in legal bills in a breach of contract lawsuit between the township and an Ajax-based solid waste handling company.

As previously reported in a decision on Dec. 7 2018 Justice Bryan Shaughnessy of the Superior Court of Justice ruled in favour of Reaction Distributing Inc. in the lawsuit against Algonquin Highlands the company suing the township after the township disqualified the company’s bid on a contract. Those damages totalled $71063.60.

The Township of Algonquin Highlands subsequently appealed that ruling and in May of 2019 its appeal was dismissed with the decision upheld.

The contract was for the supply and installation of waste compactors at the Dorset transfer station in 2015. The bid was disqualified because the company’s name and return address was not included on the front of the box that contained a binder with the bid. That information is required under the township’s tendering process however the court found the bid was in substantial compliance with the process and deemed the missing information a mere irregularity that did not justify the bid being disqualified. The judgment also noted that the township is allowed but chose not to waive the non-compliance and that the bid had been the lower of the two the township received for the job.

The $71063.60 in damages was deemed to be the profit Reaction Distributing Inc. would have lost on the contract.

The Times filed a Freedom of Information request with Algonquin Highlands for copies of the legal invoices related to the lawsuit. Under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act the Times paid the township’s requested processing fees of $43.10 for the documents which included $22.50 for search time $15 for preparation and $5.60 for the copies themselves which totalled 28 pages.

Twelve invoices from Peterborough-based Ewart O’Dwyer between December 2015 when the legal action began and June 2019 after the appeal total just less than $35000.

A court-issued payout statement shows that in addition to the damages Algonquin Highlands was responsible for other court costs fees and post-judgment interest that ended in a total amount owing from defendant to plaintiff of $103189.56 at the end of June 2019.

At the time of publication of the initial story regarding this lawsuit Moffatt told the Times in an email: “Ultimately the courts didn’t support the municipality’s position which in my opinion sets up a damned either way scenario: if a municipality has to accept non-compliant bids who’s to say the compliant bidders won’t sue for the same reason of perceived fairness? Adhering to firm requirements at the front end is meant to protect the integrity of the public process and Algonquin Highlands stands firm on that.”