In late 2017, we wrote that the VA was considering using tiered evaluations to simultaneously 1) comply with the VA’s statutory Rule of Two (and Kingdomware), and 2) address situations in which SDVOSBs and VOSBs might not offer “fair and reasonable” pricing.
Since then, the VA has instituted the tiered evaluation process for certain solicitations, using one of three approaches:
While most of the rules for SDVOSB eligibility now reside with the SBA, the VA is still responsible for verification of entities for inclusion into its database of verified SDVOSBs and VOSBs. A recent Court of Federal Claims case describes what sort of conduct might get a business removed from the VA’s database–even if that conduct doesn’t run afoul of the SBA’s SDVOSB rule.
While the conduct in this case is somewhat egregious, it is a good reminder that VA has the power to thoroughly investigate the eligibility of an SDVOSB and can revoke the verified status based on inaccurate statements in an application.
In a strongly-worded opinion, a federal judge decried a “labyrinth of legal and regulatory hoops and hurdles” imposed on the VA as a result of the famous Kingdomware Supreme Court decision–and suggested that Congress could exercise a “kill switch” to curtail or even eliminate the SDVOSB and VOSB contracting preferences the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed.
While I have no reason to suspect that Kingdomware is in any danger of being overturned or curtailed by Congress, its certainly not great news for SDVOSBs and VOSBs that a federal judge seems to be pushing for that very thing.
In May 2017, SDVOSBs and VOSBs lodged another big win in their battle to enforce the statutory preferences for veteran-owned companies: the Court of Federal Claims held that the VA cannot buy products or services using the AbilityOne list without first applying the “rule of two” and determining whether qualified SDVOSBs or VOSBs are likely to bid.
But the AbilityOne vendor in question isn’t going down without a fight. It’s taking the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit–and the Court of Federal Claims just issued a ruling staying its May decision pending the results of the appeal.
It’s hard to top last week’s government contracting news, which included the major SDVOSB Supreme Court victory in Kingdomware. But with the Fourth of July just a week and a half away, there is still plenty going on in the world of government contracts law.
In this week’s SmallGovCon Week in Review, an SDVOSB’s owner speaks out about his important GAO bid protest win, suspensions and debarments of government contractors dropped in 2015, major changes are coming to the GSA Schedule, HUBZone contract awards decline, and much more.
The Kingdomware SDVOSB/VOSB Supreme Court case, which had been scheduled for an oral argument on Monday November 9, is suddenly in a state of limbo. In an order issued today, the Supreme Court yanked the case from its docket. The Court directed the parties to submit briefs on whether the contracts in question have been fully performed, and if so, whether full performance renders the case moot.
For Kingdomware and veteran-owned companies everywhere, this is extremely troubling news. If the Court believes that the case is moot, it will be dismissed–meaning that Kingdomware would lose the war without even getting its day in court.
Briefs from both sides are due November 20, and each side may reply by December 1. I will keep you posted.
In Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court will answer a critical question: does the VA have to prioritize SDVOSBs and VOSBs in federal contracting?
As SmallGovCon readers know, I have been critical of the VA’s contention that it need not prioritize SDVOSBs and VOSBs. Now, I have gone a step further. Together with my colleagues at Koprince Law LLC, I have filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the Court to overturn the lower court’s decision and rule in favor of veterans.
Want to read our full amicus brief? Glad you asked–just click here.