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Administrative law — Interpretation of contract — Substantial evidence

The instant appeal arises from a contractual dispute between Brawner Builders, Inc. (“Brawner”), appellant, and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (“SHA”), appellee. In 2011, the parties entered into a contract whereby Brawner would replace four bridge decks on two bridges in Anne Arundel County. Upon removal of the road surface from the bridge decks, the parties discovered lead paint on the top flanges of the bridges’ horizontal steel beams. Brawner removed the lead paint and then submitted a claim to SHA for the additional cost. SHA denied the claim, finding that the presence of lead paint was not a change to the contract, nor a differing site condition. Brawner appealed SHA’s decision to the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals (“the Board”), which granted a summary decision in favor of SHA. Brawner filed a petition for judicial review in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, which affirmed the Board’s decision.

Brawner presents three questions for our review, which we have rephrased and condensed into a single question … Was there substantial evidence to support the summary decision of the Board that the removal of lead paint from the top flanges of the horizontal steel beams was not a change to the contract or a differing site condition?

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