Dunkiel Saunders’ client the City of St. Albans won an important case at the Vermont Supreme Court on August 3, 2012.
The case handled by Dunkiel Saunders attorneys involved an unusual scenario: the Franklin County Sheriff sued the City of St. Albans Police Department after the City won the contract to provide police services to St. Albans Town. The Sheriff had provided police services to the Town for 25 years.
The Sheriff alleged the City had violated Vermont anti-trust law by submitting an illegally low bid. The City argued that the Sheriff had no standing to bring the lawsuit and that state anti-trust law did not apply to government entities suing each other over police services contracts. The City argued further that its bid was not only legal but good government, saving taxpayer money. The City explained that its policing style is simply more modern and efficient than the Sheriff’s.
The Supreme Court agreed with the City. The Sheriff had no standing to bring the lawsuit, the Court decided, for two reasons. The Sheriff first had no legally protected right to a bidding process under Vermont law. Further, the Court held, Vermont’s anti-trust law is not designed to protect government entities outside of the traditional competitive marketplace.