In Sloan v. Department of Transportation, after repeated delays on a road construction project, the Department of Transportation (DOT) terminated a contractor for convenience. With approval of the DOT Commission, the DOT procured a replacement contractor using an emergency procurement process in lieu of the low bidding process ordinarily required by statute. A taxpayer brought a declaratory judgment action challenging the DOT’s decision to forego the normal bidding process on the grounds that no emergency existed. The trial court granted the DOT’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the taxpayer did not have standing, the action was moot and the DOT complied with the applicable emergency procurement provisions.
The Supreme Court of South Carolina reversed. The Court held that (1) the taxpayer had standing because the case involved an unlawful expenditure of public funds; (2) the issue was not moot because it was capable of repetition and would usually evade review; and (3) no emergency existed to justify forgoing the normal bidding process because the alleged safety concerns purportedly requiring emergency procurement had existed throughout the project. Sloan v. Department of Transportation, 2008 WL 3890145 (S.C. Aug. 25, 2008).