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As Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, countries around the world are taking action.  Relevant to U.S. Government contractors, on April 22, the Defense Logistics Agency (“DLA”) issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking information on companies’ abilities to deliver military and commercial assistance to Ukraine.  The RFI states that “the Biden Administration is working around

Crowell & Moring’s “All Things Protest” podcast keeps you up to date on major trends in bid protest litigation, key developments in high-profile cases, and best practices in state and federal procurement. In this episode, Crowell attorneys discuss their recent “Feature Comment,” published in The Government Contractor, discussing the recent Court of Federal

Contractors that encounter problematic solicitation provisions have many avenues to address them, such as industry days, questions and answers, and even communications directly with an agency.  However, the recent Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) decision in Science and Technology Corporation serves as an important reminder that contractors must be thoughtful about when and how they communicate directly with an agency.  Depending on the specific content of their communications, contractors can unwittingly create a timeliness trap that will shorten their deadline to file a GAO protest.

On September 13, Science and Technology Corporation (“STC”) sent a “letter of concern” to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) expressing dissatisfaction with a key personnel requirement in a particular solicitation, and requesting that the requirement be amended.  NOAA responded the next day, denying the request and noting that the requirement was “an important aspect” of the solicitation.

On October 1—which was 17 days after NOAA’s rejection, but still prior to the due date for receipt of proposals—STC filed a pre-award protest at GAO challenging the solicitation requirement.  Ordinarily, a pre-award protest challenging solicitation requirements is timely so long as it is filed before the deadline for receipt of proposals.  See 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(1) (“Protests based upon alleged improprieties in a solicitation which are apparent prior to bid opening or the time set for receipt of initial proposals shall be filed prior to bid opening or the time set for receipt of initial proposals. . . .”).  However, GAO dismissed STC’s protest as untimely, concluding that STC’s September 13 letter constituted an agency-level protest, and holding that STC was required to protest at GAO no later than 10 days after NOAA’s September 14 rejection.  See 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(3) (“If a timely agency-level protest was previously filed, any subsequent protest to GAO must be filed within 10 days of actual or constructive knowledge of initial adverse agency action. . . .”).

Continue Reading Letter to Agency About Solicitation Requirement Creates Pre-Award Timeliness Trap

Arguably the hottest bid protest topic of the past several years just reached its boiling point. On Friday, the Court of Federal Claims (COFC), in Golden IT, LLC v. United States, rejected the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) rule that an offeror must notify an agency if its proposed key personnel become unavailable after proposal

The acquisition and consolidation of government contractors has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. GAO’s recently released decision in Vertex Aerospace, LLC, B‑420073, B-420073.2, Nov. 23, 2021, serves as an important reminder to contractors that failure to properly update a procuring agency about such transactional activity can have adverse impacts on a pending

In American Mine Services, LLC, B-420138 (Dec. 3, 2021), the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) denied a protest by American Mine Services (“AMS”), finding that the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) reasonably rejected AMS’ bid because it included a provision stating that COVID-19, as well as other similar pandemics or endemics, would be considered “force

In Section 839 of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) to prepare a report evaluating the implementation of Department of Defense (“DoD”) Instruction 5010.44 relating to Intellectual Property Acquisition and Licensing, including but not limited to, DoD’s establishment of a cadre of intellectual property (“IP”) experts

Earlier today, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary nationwide injunction of the contractor vaccine mandate in Executive Order 14042.  This injunction will bar the Government “from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States

On November 16, 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its Annual Report on Bid Protests for Fiscal Year 2021. While GAO received slightly fewer protests in FY2021 than in the year prior, the overall protest “Effectiveness Rate”—meaning the percentage of cases in which the protester received relief, such as voluntary corrective action or a GAO sustain—remained relatively constant, at 48% (the rate has ranged from 44% to 51% in each of the past five years).

GAO’s Annual Report also provides a helpful summary of the most common grounds for sustained protests in the prior year. In FY2021, those grounds were as follows: (1) unreasonable technical evaluation; (2) flawed discussions; (3) unreasonable cost or price evaluation; and (4) unequal treatment. The inclusion of “flawed discussions” on the list is notable—it is the first time in recent history that discussions-based protest arguments have proven so successful. Though firm conclusions are difficult to draw based upon a single year’s data, this may indicate that GAO is taking a closer look—and holding agencies to a higher standard—at the propriety and fairness of discussions.
Continue Reading GAO Releases Annual Bid Protest Report to Congress for FY 2021, Identifies New “Top Ground” for Sustains