Consulting group alleges city of Houston put them at disadvantage in contract bidding

HOUSTON — A consulting group is suing the city of Houston and additional parties, alleging they were put at a disadvantage for a contract bid.

Hatch Associates Consultants Inc. filed a complaint July 22 in Harris County District Court against the city of Houston and Houston Waterworks Team, a joint venture between Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., and CDM Smith Inc., alleging unfair awarding of contract and violation of the Texas Government Code.

According to the complaint, Hatch Associates sought to bid on programming and installing the instrumentation of controls for the Northeast Purification Plant expansion project. The plaintiff alleges the city allowed Houston Waterworks Team (HWT) to select itself to self-perform a series of projects in a contract package. 

The plaintiff, the suit alleges, had submitted a proposal for the same project Sept. 18, 2018, and HWT also submitted a proposal. The city selected the plaintiff as offering the best value proposal, the lawsuit states, and Hatch was informed that the contract negotiations would begin. 

On May 22, 2019, the suit alleges the plaintiff was sent a letter by the city, stating Hatch Associates was not being selected to perform the contract package it had previously been given. The plaintiff said it learned July 18, 2019, that the city and HWT had been operating in bad faith and secretly negotiating with one another.

Hatch Associates Consultants seeks trial by jury, attorney fees, court costs and all other just and equitable relief. It is represented by attorneys Richard A. Morris, Michelle R. Morris and Jamie L. Houston of Rogers, Morris & Grover LLP in Houston.

Harris County District Court case number 2019-49987

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