Lawsuit In a Bid Insurance Case

In Husman v. Purolator Courier, 832 F.2d 459, 461 (8th Cir. 1987), the United States Government General Services Administration (GSA) advertised to solicit bids for the renovation of the Court facilities in Sioux Falls South Dakota. Bids were due by 1:30 p.m. March 12, 1985 in the offices of GSA in Denver Colorado. The day before the bids were due, March 11, 1985, Husman, the owner of a construction company, delivered a sealed construction bid to the offices of Purolator Courier. Purolator agreed to deliver the bid to GSA by noon the following day. Husman subsequently delivered a bid modification to Western Union on the morning of March 12 and Western Union agreed that it would transmit the modification to GSA before the bid deadline. The bill of lading from Purolator which Husman signed contained limitation of liability provisions similar to those contained in the UPS invoice in the instant case. Purolator's bill of lading contained a limitation of liability clause on the front of the bill which provided that Purolator's liability for loss, damage or non-delivery was limited to $ 250.00 unless a greater value was declared. This clause provided that under no circumstances would Purolator be liable for special, incidental or consequential damages. The face of the bill of lading also directed the shipper to read the reverse side of the bill of lading which contained similar provisions limiting Purolator's liability in the same manner as the first clause. The face of the shipping bill itself provided spaces for a shipper to write in a declared value for the shipment. As fate would have it, the plane on which the bid documents were to be transported by Purolator developed engine problems. Thus, Purolator did not deliver the bid until over an hour and a half after the 1:30 p.m. deadline. Western Union also did not transmit the bid modification until after the deadline passed. Husman's bid, which would have been the winning bid was therefore not considered by the GSA due to its untimely arrival. Husman sued both Purolator and Western Union for the profits that he would have realized had the bid been delivered in a timely manner. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Purolator and the 8th Circuit affirmed. In rejecting Husman's claim against Purolator and affirming the District Court, the 8th Circuit stated: By his own admission, Husman was an experienced bidder who had used Purolator several times to deliver previous bids. However, despite this experience, and despite the warning in the Worldwide Directory, Husman chose not to obtain independent insurance coverage, even though he was sending his bid only one day before it was due. Nor did Husman pursue an alternative method of sending the bid, such as certified or registered mail, either of which guarantees that a bid will be considered even if it arrives late, so long as it is postmarked five days before bidding closes. See 48 C.F.R. 14.304-1(a)(1) (1985). Instead, ignoring the clear and valid limitations of liability in the contract he signed, Husman brought this suit in district court. No relief will be forthcoming. Those using delivery services to transmit bids are in the best position to procure insurance for their time-sensitive cargo or to otherwise proceed at their own risk. 832 F.2d at 462.