Maintenance, Inc. v. Houston County

In Maintenance, Inc. v. Houston County, 438 So. 2d 741 (Ala. 1983), Maintenance, Inc., and Houston County entered into a contract for the disposal of solid waste. When the contract expired, the parties renegotiated and signed a second contract that did not comply with the Competitive Bid Law. The County later canceled the contract, and Maintenance, Inc., sued, alleging breach of contract. In its defense, the County asserted that the contract was void because it did not comply with the Competitive Bid Law, and Maintenance, Inc., made an estoppel argument. This Court stated: "Maintenance cannot, however, by way of estoppel, endow with validity a transaction which is illegal and against public policy. Cochran v. Ozark Country Club, Inc., 339 So. 2d 1023 (Ala. 1976). Where the [second] contract between Maintenance and the County was void for noncompliance with the bid law, the principle of estoppel could not be utilized to create the contract anew. Bates v. Jim Walter Resources, Inc., 418 So. 2d 903 (Ala. 1982). "Where, moreover, the legislature has expressed its public policy of voiding contracts which do not comply with the competitive bid law, we decline to expand the scope of our holding in Alford v. City of Gadsden, 349 So. 2d 1132 (Ala. 1977), which upheld an estoppel argument against city officials who merely failed to follow the formalities of contract execution." (Maintenance, 438 So. 2d at 744.)