Hunter Bennett

Hunter Bennett

Hunter Bennett focuses his practice on contract formation and disputes issues, with a particular emphasis on bid protests.   Mr. Bennett worked with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch, National Courts Section.  During his time with the DOJ, Mr. Bennett primarily focused on defending the United States against bid protests filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  In addition, he successfully briefed and argued multiple cases in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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Still Just A Rat In A CAGE: Recent GAO Decisions Underscore the Need for Precision in Identifying Corporate Entities During the Procurement Process

Many government contractors are part of corporate families consisting of multiple corporate entities.  One entity may be named as the official contracting party, but use the resources of affiliates, parents, or subsidiaries during performance.  The distinction between those members of the corporate family may not seem important in terms of day-to-day operations — in fact, … Continue Reading

“Hey Big Spender . . .”: GAO Reiterates That Agencies Must Meaningfully Consider Price In Best Value Tradeoffs

In three related bid protest decisions made public last week, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) reaffirmed the principle that agencies must meaningfully consider price when making best value tradeoff decisions.  GAO sustained the protests, stressing that merely paying lip service to price while selecting a more expensive, higher-rated offeror is not sufficient — agencies must … Continue Reading

Put It In Prospectus: Reviewing the Congressional Lease Approval Process in Light of the Upcoming Lower Manhattan SEC Lease

With the General Services Administration’s (“GSA”) recent issuance of a prospectus in connection with its announced plan to acquire new office space for the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) in lower Manhattan, now is a good time for a quick refresher about the congressional lease approval process under 40 U.S.C. § 3307, which potentially gives rise … Continue Reading

A Bridge Too Far — Court of Federal Claims Sustains Protest of Fifth (Yes, Fifth) Sole-Source Bridge Contract Awarded to Incumbent During Protracted Bid Protest Litigation

Non-incumbent awardees who are defending their awards against a bid protest often view sole-source “bridge” contracts issued to the incumbent as something akin to death and taxes — an unpleasant, yet seemingly inescapable fact of life.  But a recent Court of Federal Claims decision offers an important reminder that these types of contracts are not … Continue Reading

When Not to Pass Go and Go Directly to GAO: Decision Highlights Risk of Protesting Purchase Orders and Other Time-Sensitive Contracts at the Agency Level

For contractors who are concerned that filing a bid protest in the Government Accountability Office or Court of Federal Claims may alienate their customer, agency-level protests are a welcome, less-confrontational alternative that allows them to raise their concerns in a discreet, non-public fashion.  But as shown by GAO’s recent decision in GovSmart, Inc. – Protest … Continue Reading

Final Rule Revises Many SBA Regulations

The Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has released a final rule revising many small business size and contracting program regulations found in 13 C.F.R. Parts 121, 124-127, effective on June 30, 2016.  The revisions, which implement reforms required by the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, include the following:… Continue Reading

Could Senate NDAA Spell the End of Incumbent Bid Protests?

Defense contractors seeking to protect their incumbent contracts by filing protests with the Government Accountability Office (GAO) may need to think twice if Congress enacts protest reform provisions included in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s recently released version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 (S. 2943). Under Sec. 821 of … Continue Reading

Take it To the Limit: CBCA Limits Application of Maropakis Requirement to Initially Submit Certain Defenses to Government Actions as CDA Claims

Ever since the Federal Circuit held in M. Maropakis Carpentry, Inc. v. United States, 609 F.3d 1323, 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2010) that “a contractor seeking an adjustment of contract terms must meet the jurisdictional requirements and procedural prerequisites of the [Contract Disputes Act], whether asserting the claim against the government as an affirmative claim or … Continue Reading

DoD Final Rule Clarifies Application of Afghan Taxes to Contractors

On December 30, 2015, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Final Rule intended to clarify that U.S. defense contractors and subcontractors performing work in Afghanistan, including work on contracts below the simplified acquisition threshold and for commercial items, are not subject to Afghan taxes.[1]  The rule updates the tax provisions of the DFARS to … Continue Reading

No Money for Nothing — Eighth Circuit Limits Relators’ Ability to Recover a Share of Government Settlements of Qui Tam Suits

Following an 8-2 en banc decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this month, potential relators may think twice before bringing their False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam suits in the Eighth Circuit.  In Rille v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 11-3514 (8th Cir. Oct. 5, 2015), the Court vacated a … Continue Reading

“We Mean It, Maaannnn”—New Proposed Regulation Seeks to Encourage Higher-Quality Proposals by Boosting Enforcement of Five-Bidder Limit in Two-Phase Procurements for High-Value Construction Contracts

On October 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”), and the U.S. General Services Administration (“GSA”) jointly proposed a change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) that would make it more difficult for agencies to bypass the existing five-bidder limitation in two-phase procurements for design-build projects worth more … Continue Reading

GAO Holds That Contractor’s Letters Are, In Fact, Agency-Level Protests

By sending a letter to the contracting officer, did I unwittingly file a pre-award, agency-level bid protest? That is a question a contractor might ask after reading Coulson Aviation (USA), Inc., B-411525 (Aug. 14, 2015), which reiterates the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (“GAO”) view that a contractor’s subjective intent is not determinative as to whether its … Continue Reading
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