As I noted in my recent post on the Pa. Steel Products Procurement Act, and as evidenced by recent enforcement action by the Pennsylvania Attorney General, the Act remains as relevant today as when it was first enacted in 1978.
On August 2, 2012, the Pennsylvania Attorney General filed suit against Ryco, Inc., and related Ryco businesses, claiming that they used hundreds of fittings made with foreign steel in fire sprinkler systems installed on a pubic works project at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a public works project at the Blairsville-Saltsburg School District. The suit also names individual officers, owners, and directors of the Ryco businesses.
The official press release announcing the lawsuit noted that the Attorney General’s investigation into the possible use of lower-cost foreign steel products on Pennsylvania public works projects is “active and ongoing.” The lawsuit asks the Commonwealth Court to order civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation and other relief, along with recovery of any payments that were made to Ryco under the contracts and the cost of the investigation. In addition, the lawsuit seeks to prohibit Ryco and the other defendants from submitting bids or supplying materials to any public agency in Pennsylvania or on any state contract for a five year period.
The lawsuit against Ryco is proof positive that the Act is alive and well, and that public contractors supplying steel on public works projects in Pennsylvania, and the owners of these companies, must be extremely careful to know and comply with the Act’s requirements. The failure to do so could result in drastic penalties not only for the companies but for the owners themselves.
The official press release can be found here.