Court of Federal Claims Bid Protest and GAO Protest Lawyers
Bid Protest Lawyers Offering Nationwide and Overseas Help For Government Contractors Seeking to Protect and Preserve the Procurement Process.
Watson & Associates’ government contract law attorneys frequently represent small businesses and large federal contractors across the United States and overseas protesting a government contract award. Before filing a government protest, you want to make sure that you avoid costly landmines such as filing an untimely case, not meeting procedural rules, or failing to assess whether you should file at the agency level, Government Accountability Office (“GAO) or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
If you are the awardee seeking to defend your government contract award, you want to see if there is merit to filing a government protest and becoming an intervenor.
With law offices in Washington, D.C. and in Denver, Colorado, the bid protest attorneys at Watson & Associates, LLC help you to make educated decisions. The law firm aggressively represents both intervenors and protestors equally.
Pre-Award and Post-Award Bid Protest Attorney Services
Whether you have a pre-award bid protest or post-award bid protest, our bid protest lawyers can help. The law firm has deep experience with the federal procurement process and the rules that source selection officials must follow: Here is a list of the types of bid protest cases we handle:
- Solicitation defects
- Unduly restrictive solicitations
- Lack of meaningful discussions
- Lowest price technically acceptable protests
- Sole source justification and awards
- Undisclosed government estimates
- Past performance evaluation government contract protests
- Responsibility and ethics integrity issues
- Best value and technical evaluations
- Price realism and reasonableness
- Bid protest and corrective action
- Best value and trade-offs
- COFC appeals to the Federal Circuit Court
- SBA certificate of competency bid disputes
Some of our government protest attorneys have actually worked in federal contracting agencies and are in a unique position to advocate on your behalf. Get a Free Initial Consultation Today. Call Toll Free 1-866-601-5518.
Government Contract Protest Litigation – Protestors and Intervenors (Defense)
Bid Protest Intervenors
If you are the winning offeror, deciding to intervene in an existing bid protest case litigation can have benefits. Watson’s Court of Federal Claims and GAO bid protest law firm frequently represents awardees or other interested parties by intervening in the case and protecting their rights to the award.
Becoming a COFC or GAO protest intervenor requires government contractors to meet certain legal requirements. Examples include meeting the interested party requirement and showing that you were prejudiced or injured as a result of the agency’s source selection decision.
Protestor Legal Representation
As a bid protest law firm, our lawyers help contractors to prepare and file their bid protest letter. This is an important aspect of the litigation process because your case can be dismissed if you do not meet the requirements of the regulations. In addition, we help to preserve your case in the event of a later appeal (many contractors acting pro se miss this critical point).
Bid Protest Process
Protesting a government contract award starts by preparing and filing your bid protest letter. You have the option of filing at the agency level, Government Accountability Office (GAO) or Court of Federal Claims (COFC). In all situations you must show that the agency failed to follow its own solicitation requirements, acted unreasonably or abused its discretion, or violated procurement law.
Mere allegations with no supporting facts or legal basis will more than likely get your case dismissed. This is one important reason why retaining a bid protest lawyer can be beneficial. Our law firm helps your company to minimize the chance of the government prevailing in a motion to dismiss.
- An example for filing a motion to dismiss can include arguments that the protest is untimely, or the protest fails to clearly state legally sufficient grounds of protest. Other arguments can include that the protest letter simply disagrees with the agency award and therefore does not meet the requirement for filing a bid protest.
As the case moves forward, and after the agency record has been disclosed, the litigants will draft legal briefs to the court that articulate why the protest should be sustained or denied (in the case of intervenor lawyers).
Where to File Government Contract Bid Protests?
Government contract law and procurement regulations allow you to choose where you want to file. As government contract bid protest lawyers., we help you to assess the best forum to file and the pros and cons of each location.
Agency Level Protest
So long as you meet the filing deadline, you can file an agency level protest to the contracting officer. This type of government protest is generally less expensive and informal. However, you may want to stick to all formalities required by other courts.
Contracting officers have been known to dismiss agency level protests for the simple reason that they do not meet the legal requirements. At Watson, our bid protest attorneys help you to assess, prepare and file agency level protests.
Government Accountability Office (GAO Bid Protest)
Filing a GAO bid protest is the next option. Here, the GAO presides over the case and implements the rules and regulations governing the actions of the intervenor, protestor and the government. After initially protesting a government contract award, the agency submits its record to the protestor and intervenor’s attorney. After, the attorneys or parties file their legal brief, then the GAO makes a decision within the required timeline (100 days). GAO protests are generally more expensive than agency level protests.
Court of Federal Claims Bid Protest (COFC)
The third option is to file a Court of Federal Claims bid protest. This type of government contract protest involves a higher level of formality and procedural rules. An important note is that there is no “automatic stay” at this court.
Instead your bid protest attorney must file a motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and argue before the court immediately after filing the protest. When a contract award is $5 million or more, some companies prefer to use this more formal process to challenge the agency’s award decision.
Tip: The Court of Federal Claims does not have an official filing deadline. However, government contractors must be aware that there are informal rules prohibiting you from waiting too long to file.
Tip: Court of Federal Claims bid protest require that legal counsel from the Department of Justice step in and represent the government as compared to the GAO protest where you deal with agency level attorneys.
Tip: If GAO rules adversely against you, you can still file a new bid protest at the Court of Federal Claims. Although, not a direct appeal of the GAO bid protest decision, the COFC decision is binding on the GAO.
Bid Protest FAQs
What are the content requirements for your bid protest letter?
Neither GAO nor Court of Federal Claims require a specific format when protesting a government contract award. However, you want to make sure that you least meet the following basic requirements. Your bid protest letter must at least:
- Include the name, street address, e-mail address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the protester (or its representative, if any);
- Be signed by the protester or its legal representative (electronic signature is acceptable);
- Sate the agency name and the solicitation and/or contract number;
- Articulate a detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds of the protest, including copies of relevant documents;
- Include all information establishing that the protester is an interested party for the purpose of filing a protest;
- Include all information establishing that the protest is not late and meets the timeliness requirements (Court of Federal Claims does not have an official deadline. However, you cannot wait too long or the court would decide that you might be sleeping on your rights.)
- Specifically request a ruling by the Comptroller General of the United States; and
- State the form of relief requested. 4 CFR 21.1(c).
Should you file a bid protest?
Whether or not you should file a bid protest is one of the toughest questions you as a CEO must make while doing business with the federal government. Some companies worry about harming relationships with their existing customers or being black-balled by the agency.
What are bid protest filing deadlines?
Many government contract protest litigants spend thousands of dollars arguing whether the protest is untimely or not. Basic bid protest regulations state that if your bid protest challenges the contents and improprieties in the agency’s solicitation then your deadline is before bid opening or before the time set for receipt of initial proposals. See 4 CFR 21.2(a)(1).
- If the solicitation defect that was not apparent before the above time then the protest deadline is to file no later than 10 days after the defect solicitation became apparent.
Bid protest filing timelines in In all other cases state that the case must be filed not later than 10 days after the protester knew or should have known the basis of protest (whichever is earlier), with the exception of protests challenging a procurement conducted on the basis of competitive proposals under which a debriefing is ‟requested and, when requested, is required,” that is, a debriefing required by law.
If you have timely requested a “required debriefing” then you must file your initial protest no later than 10 days after the date on which the debriefing was held. See 4 CFR 21.2(a)(2).
Can you protest the agency’s revised corrective action?
One important point that is commonly missed is that once the agency decides to take corrective action either at the GAO or Court of Federal Claims, then the court loses jurisdiction to continue the case.
When the agency does take corrective action, and you have a dispute with that action, then the revised corrective action can be protested. For example, if the contracting agency amended the solicitation after the initial corrective action and set the conditions for the submission of revised proposals, you can file a government contract protest to GAO or COFC challenging that procurement action. See Peraton Inc. v. United States, No. 19-932 C (Dec. 17 2019).
Can the agency set aside for small businesses a previous contract where the incumbent was a large business subject to a non-restricted solicitation?
Depending of the facts of each case, the agency can make its procurement decision as it sees fit. Generally, the only requirement is that the agency conduct a “rule of two” analysis. See Management & Training Corp. v. United States, No. 12-561 C (Dec. 7, 2012).
Avoid the 10 most costly mistakes in bid protest litigation
If you decide to file a government protest that challenges the agency’s contract award decision, here of ten of the most costly legal mistakes you want to avoid.
- Attacking the source selection of the awardee but saying nothing about your own proposal evaluation
- Concluding that the agency did not make the best award decision with taxpayer dollars
- Arguing that you were the lowest bidder when the procurement was not a lowest price technically acceptable award
- Assuming that all debriefings stop the time clock for filing a bid protest
- Failing to request a post award debriefing (not all debriefings stalls the deadline for filing a bid protest.)
- Not properly assessing whether you had a substantial chance of receiving the award
- Only arguing that the awardee’s price was too high
- Writing a protest letter merely under “information and belief”
- Counting the protest filing deadline under business days and not calendar days
- Filing a small business size protest at GAO
Overseas and Nationwide Legal Bid Protest Services
Our Government Contracts and bid protest lawyers provides legal services and counsel to contractors throughout the United States and overseas including Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington DC, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Virgin Islands. We also represent bid protest clients in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Government contractors in Dubai, and other Middle Eastern communities. Call our federal contracting and bid protest attorneys today for immediate help. 1-866-601-5518.
Contact a Federal Bid Protest Lawyer
To discuss your situation or to protest government contract awards, call Watson & Associates’ COFC and GAO Bid protest attorneys at 1-866-601-5518. We represent clients in all states and overseas.
Get a FREE CONSULTATION
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