Large Business Ineligible For SDVOSB Verification Protest, Says Court

A large business couldn’t demonstrate that it was eligible to pursue a bid protest challenging a VA SDVOSB sole source contract award.

In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that a protester, which was a large business under the NAICS code assigned to the SDVOSB sole source contract, had not demonstrated standing to challenge the contract award. The sole source contract in question wasn’t just any contract, either–but a contract to oversee the VA’s verification process for SDVOSBs and VOSBs.

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No Size Appeal If Outside Competitive Range, Says SBA OHA

An unsuccessful offeror lacked the ability to file a valid SBA size appeal involving the size status of a competitor, because the unsuccessful offeror was eliminated from the competitive range–and its elimination had been upheld in a GAO bid protest decision.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that an offeror that cannot possibly be awarded the contract ordinarily lacks standing to file a size appeal.

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GAO: IDIQ Awardee Could Not Protest Selection of Fellow Awardee

The GAO ruled recently that an awardee under a multiple-award IDIQ contract did not have standing the protest the agency’s selection of another awardee.

The decision highlights one of the main tenets of government contracting law: competition is in the government’s interest, and a protest that seeks to reduce competition to the benefit of the protestor could, in a case like this, be thrown out.

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Sorry, Subcontractor: No SBA Size Appeal For You

When the SBA found a subcontractor to be affiliated with its prime contractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule, the subcontractor could not appeal the SBA’s finding to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.

In a recent size appeal decision, OHA held that a subcontractor lacks the ability to file a size appeal because the subcontractor is not directly affected by the size determination.

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Joint Ventures And GAO Protests: Protester Must Have “Standing”

For a member of a joint venture to file a GAO bid protest on behalf of the joint venture, the member must have the authority to do so.  If a JV Member’s authority to act is in question, the GAO will dismiss the protest for lack of standing.

In a recent decision, the GAO dismissed a bid protest filed by a joint venture member because the other joint venture member disputed the protester’s right to act on the joint venture’s behalf.

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The VA’s SDVOSB Database and GAO Protests: Be Verified, Or Go Home

If a service-disabled veteran-owned small business has been denied verification for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Vendor Information Pages database, it cannot file a bid protest with the GAO challenging the VA’s award decision on a VA SDVOSB set-aside procurement—even if the company has a request for reconsideration pending with the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise.

So says the GAO in GAO Protest of MICCI Imaging Construction Company, B-405654 (November 28, 2011), a decision in which the GAO held that a company that has been denied verification lacks “standing” to pursue a GAO bid protest of a VA SDVOSB set-aside to a competitor.  Translating the legalese, the GAO’s message to non-verified companies is, “don’t waste our time.”

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Is It Time To Rethink The GAO’s Prejudice Requirement?

Under the GAO’s bid protest regulations, only an “interested party” may file a bid protest.  Over the years, GAO case law has established that a protester is not an “interested party” if the protester would not have had a reasonable chance of receiving award, but for the agency’s actions.

Under most circumstances, the “no harm no foul” prejudice rule makes sense.  After all, if a protester scored lower than the awardee on, say, all five technical factors, and had a higher price, should the agency really have to start from scratch if it made a minor error?  The rule generally helps weed out frivolous protests and keep the competitive procurement system functioning smoothly.  But occasionally the rule can lead to seemingly unfair and anticompetitive results, as happened in GAO Protest of Gas Turbine Engines, Inc., B-401868.2 (Dec. 14, 2009).

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