Archives: Bid Protests

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GAO’s Annual Report: Protests Are Down, But Their Effectiveness Is Up

On Monday, GAO issued its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2017.  Most notably, the effectiveness rate hit 47%.  The effectiveness rate looks at all cases filed, and measures the percentage of cases in which a protester obtains some relief, whether through a sustain by GAO or voluntary corrective action by the … Continue Reading

Border Wall Protest Dismissed After Protester Fails to Timely Submit Comments

The Department of Homeland Security’s procurement for border wall prototypes is a complex, controversial procurement by any measure.  But one protest of that procurement has recently been dismissed for a simple reason: the protester failed to timely submit comments on the agency report. Bid protests at the Government Accountability Office are notorious for their fast … Continue Reading

GAO: “Reasoned Judgment” Required When Establishing Competitive Range

On May 19, 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) sustained a protest filed by Pinnacle Solutions, Inc. (“Pinnacle”) challenging its exclusion from the competitive range in NASA procurement for aircraft logistics, integration, configuration management, and engineering services.  GAO concluded that NASA had unreasonably evaluated and assigned weaknesses to Pinnacle’s proposal and, as is relevant … Continue Reading

CFC: Offeror on a GSA Lease Lacks Standing to Raise Appropriations Issues

In a recent decision, the Court of Federal Claims ruled that a pre-award protestor lacked standing to challenge the legality of a request for lease proposals (“RLP”) under an appropriations statute. Cleveland Assets, LLC v. United States, 132 Fed. Cl. 264 (2017). In particular, the Court ruled that the protestor could not enforce the statute’s … Continue Reading

COFC Awards Enhanced Attorney Fees In Protest Following “Egregious” Agency Conduct

Last year, we highlighted the Court of Federal Claims’ (“COFC”) decision in Starry Associates, Inc. v. United States, 127 Fed. Cl. 539 (2016), which sharply criticized a Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) decision to cancel a solicitation, a rare rebuke in an area where agencies enjoy considerable deference from the courts. The Court’s … Continue Reading

The More You Know: Agencies Advised to Increase Use of Post-Award Debriefings

On January 5, 2017, as part of its “myth-busting” series, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (“OFPP”) issued a memorandum encouraging federal agencies to improve their post-award debriefings to increase their “productive interactions with . . . industry partners.” Based on feedback from industry and federal agencies, the OFPP described the numerous benefits of effective … Continue Reading

Double Your Pleasure: GAO’s Annual Protest Report Shows that Sustain Rate Has Almost Doubled, But the Effectiveness Rate Remained Flat

In mid-December, GAO issued its Bid Protest Annual Report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2016.  The report reveals, among other things, that GAO’s protest sustain rate for this past fiscal year (“FY”) was 22.56%, almost double that of FY 2015.  While this is perhaps the most notable data point, the report once again provides a … Continue Reading

GAO Decision Illustrates Breadth of Agency Discretion in Past Performance Evaluations

In the recent bid protest decision of Halbert Construction Company Inc., the Government Accountability Office (GAO) illustrated the breadth of a procuring agency’s discretion in conducting a past performance evaluation.  Halbert Construction brought the protest after being excluded from the competitive range, arguing primarily that the Navy unreasonably included a non-relevant prior project in the … Continue Reading

GAO’s Task Order Protest Jurisdiction Expires Today

GAO’s jurisdiction over protests of civilian agency task and delivery orders valued at more than $10 million will sunset today. 41 U.S.C. § 410(f)(3).  GAO will continue to have jurisdiction over Department of Defense task and delivery orders over $10 million — Congress made that jurisdiction permanent in 2011.  10 U.S.C. § 2304c(e). Pending protests … Continue Reading

Recent GAO Decision Highlights Possibility of Limited Evaluations in Best-Value Procurements

Offerors in best-value procurements are generally accustomed to a review of their complete proposals during the evaluation process.  The recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision in The COGAR Group, Ltd., B-413004 (July 22, 2016) highlights the ability of agencies to blend lowest-price technically-acceptable (LPTA) procurement principles into best-value procurements and thereby limit the scope of … Continue Reading

HHS Seeing Stars After Recent Loss in COFC Bid Protest

In Starry Associates, Inc. v. United States, No. 16-44C (Fed. Cl. July 27, 2016), the Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) sharply criticized a Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) decision to cancel a solicitation following two bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”).  The history and outcome of the case are exceptional among … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Confirms that Award Term Extension Constitutes New Contract for Purposes of Bid Protest Jurisdiction

On July 12, 2016, in Coast Professional, Inc. et. al v. United States, No. 2015-5077 (Fed. Cir. July 12, 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a Court of Federal Claims (“CoFC”) decision, finding that the CoFC erred in ruling that it did not have bid protest jurisdiction over the award … Continue Reading

Post Hoc Proposal Reevaluation Exacerbates Error in Award Decision

Last Friday, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) released a public version of Delfasco, LLC, B-409514.3 (March 2, 2015), a decision noteworthy because of how the GAO dealt with an agency’s post hoc reevaluation of proposals.  The protestor, Delfasco, LLC (“Delfasco”), had an incumbent contract to sell dummy practice bombs to the U.S. Army, and it … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Clarifies Broad Scope of the “Rule of Two” in VA Contracting

Veteran-owned small businesses scored a win at the Supreme Court with a unanimous ruling in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States.  The case involved a law that requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA” or the “Department”) to restrict competition to service-disabled or veteran-owned small businesses when a contracting officer determines that “at least … Continue Reading

The CBCA Chews Up Agency’s Erroneous Allegation that Contractor Is Getting a ‘Second Bite at the Apple’

At the intersection of bid protests and claims, in Optimum Services, Inc. v. Department of the Interior, CBCA 4968 (May 2, 2016), the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA” or “Board”) recently encountered the question of whether a decision by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) can preclude a contractor from later maintaining an appeal of … 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

Hope for Offerors Who Win a Multiple-Award IDIQ Contract and Want to Protest an Improper Award to a Competitor

You just learned your company is one of several winners of a multiple-award IDIQ contract.  You also learned one of your competitors, which should have been ineligible, is also an awardee.  So, as things stand, you’ll have to split the contract — and compete for orders — with that competitor.  Can you file a protest … Continue Reading

GAO Rejects Timeliness Challenge Because “Essential Elements” of Protest Were Timely Filed

In REB ROWE Services, LLC; General Services Administration–Reconsideration, B-410001.6; B-410001.7 (Apr. 4, 2016), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently denied a request for reconsideration and clarified that protest grounds are interpreted broadly for timeliness purposes. This decision is a reminder for protestors and intervenors alike that seemingly untimely protest grounds may still be revived if … Continue Reading

Recent COFC Decision Underscores Need for Vigilance in Demonstrating Protest Standing

Many a bid protest has been dismissed for lack of standing.  But often that ostensible lack of standing has more to do with how the protest arguments are crafted than the facts underlying the procurement.  The Court of Federal Claims’s recent decision in Precision Asset Management Corp. v. United States (No. 15-1495) is a good … Continue Reading

GAO Protest Sustain Rate on the Rise

Through the first 5 months of FY 2016, GAO is sustaining protests at a 22% clip — a far higher rate than in recent years. GAO’s sustain rate considers only those protests that go to a decision on the merits, and reflects the percentage of those protests where GAO finds in favor of the protester. … Continue Reading

GAO Sustains Organizational Conflict of Interest Protest Of Veterans Affairs Task Order

On February 11, 2016, the Government Accountability Office publicly released its recommendation sustaining the protest by ASM Research of a task order award by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to Booz Allen Hamilton.  GAO determined that the VA failed to adequately consider a potential organizational conflict of interest (OCI) of the awardee based on … Continue Reading

The Pitfalls of Changing a Pending Proposal

As acquisition timelines become increasingly protracted, contractors face the thorny question of if, when and how to advise a procuring agency of changes affecting an already submitted proposal.  In a series of decisions, the Government Accountability Office has held that contractors must inform the procuring agency of any “material change” to a proposal that occurs … Continue Reading

No Cost Contract Award is No Problem According to GAO

In a procurement that will result in the award of a fixed-price contract, contractors have the choice to price their offers below their expected costs. This approach can provide a substantial competitive advantage when a contractor believes the tangential benefits of a contract award will exceed the excess costs of performance. But how far below … Continue Reading
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