Court Denies Protest of Procurement, Holds Dept. of Education Had Rational Basis

The Court of Federal Claims recently wrote that “[t]here is no such thing as a perfect procurement.” To anyone familiar with federal government contracts, this commentary states the obvious. But springing from the Court’s observation is another important reality: “a flawed procurement is not necessarily an illegal one.”

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One Protest Spoils the Bunch

GAO recently dismissed several bid protests to an $82 billion procurement because of the actions of a company that had already lost its protest.

In AECOM Management Services, four different companies protested the U.S. Army’s logistics civil augmentation program procurement for various “Setting the Theater” services for the Army’s Northern Command, Southern Command, African Command, European Command, Central Command, Pacific Command, and Afghanistan.

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2020 NDAA: Contractors Supplying Technical Data to Receive Protection of Data Rights During Challenges, Again

The draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, if enacted, will revoke the government’s ability to exercise rights in technical data during a supplier’s challenge to the contracting officer’s decision as to the validity of the asserted “use or release restrictions” on that data. It would reinstate the previous safeguard afforded to data suppliers, allowing them to protect their valuable–and often irreplaceable–intellectual property rights unless and until the contracting officer’s decision to remove the restrictions is sustained.

Keep in mind, this is just a draft provision, as the Senate version of the 2020 NDAA doesn’t contain the provision discussed in this blog.

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SCOTUS to Hear Arguments on Agency Power

Oral arguments are to be held today (March 27, 2019) on a U.S. Supreme Court case that may dramatically reduce federal agency power.

The case, Kisor v. Wilkie, asks the Supreme Court to overturn longstanding precedent which established that an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation deserves deference so long as it is reasonable. If the Supreme Court overturns this precedent, it could change the balance of power—in favor of government contractors—in certain disputes with agencies.

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Section 809 Panel Recommends Eliminating COFC’s Ability to Consider Protests After GAO’s Resolution

Among its suggestions to streamline the acquisition process, the Section 809 Panel has proposed to eliminate the ability to file a protest at GAO and the Court of Federal Claims. Instead, the Panel would require protesters to choose between filing at GAO or the Court.

Let’s take a look.

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I Fought the Law, and the Law Won? Standing Issues Prevent Claim of Agency’s Rulebreaking

As we discussed in July 2017, Timberline Helicopters, Inc. has been involved in ongoing litigation regarding the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management’s (a.k.a. “BLM”) procurement of helicopter flight services to aid in fire-fighting and fire-suppression missions, services essential now more than ever.

Most recently, in Timberline Helicopters, Inc. v. United States, No. 18-1474C (Fed. Cl. Nov. 14, 2018), the Court of Federal Claims held that Timberline no longer had standing to bring its claims.

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8(a) JV Agreement Denied: Participant Brought Only Its 8(a) Status to Relationship

When companies seek to join forces under an 8(a) joint venture agreement, they often focus on meeting the SBA’s specific joint venture requirements. In doing so, however, they might overlook the threshold goal of an 8(a) joint venture: to allow an 8(a) to develop the necessary capacity to perform a contract.

As a recent Court of Federal Claims decision shows, overlooking this requirement can cause an 8(a) joint venture agreement to be rejected by SBA—and lead to the joint venture being found ineligible for an award.

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