Archives: Bid Protests

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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

New FAR Rule Implements Increased Minimum Dollar Threshold for GAO’s Protest Jurisdiction Over DoD, NASA, and Coast Guard Task Orders

In a new rule announced yesterday, the FAR Council implemented prior statutory changes to GAO’s bid protest jurisdiction.  For task orders issued by the Department of Defense, NASA, or the Coast Guard, the rule provides that GAO will have jurisdiction only over task orders “valued in excess of $25 million.”… Continue Reading

Draft DoD Guidance on SSPs and NIST SP 800-171 – Impact on Bid Protests and Ongoing Contract Performance

On April 24, 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Notice and Request for Comment on draft guidance that DoD proposes for assessing contractors’ System Security Plans (SSPs) and their implementation of the security controls in NIST Special Publication (SP) 800-171. This includes assessments as part of source selection decisions and during contract performance. DFARS … Continue Reading

RAND Report Concludes That Protests of Department of Defense Procurements Are Rare, Effective

Last week, the RAND Corporation published a report entitled “Assessing Bid Protests of U.S. Department of Defense Procurements: Identifying Issues, Trends, And Drivers.”  In it, RAND analyzed the prevalence and impact of bid protests of U.S. Department of Defense (“DoD”) acquisitions, and concluded that DoD bid protests are both “exceedingly uncommon” and, on the whole, … 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

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

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
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