Rules governing bid protests are outlined within Chapter 120.57 of the Florida Statutes and specify the timelines for filing the intent to contest and formal written notice, along with identifying which parties are eligible to file a bid protest. It is important to understand your rights as a bidder and the steps to take if a mistake in the awarding process is suspected. Due to the legal nature of this process, it is highly recommended to seek out a Lakeland construction attorney to represent your company.
Government Solicitation for Goods or Services
Every agency of government whether local, state, or federal must acquire goods and services through public solicitation. This bid system is designed to provide all bidders an opportunity to win public contracts and presents the government with the best service at the lowest price. Before opening a bid publicly and accepting solicitations, the government agency will create a solicitation package and determine how the bids will be scored. The bid process from accepting solicitation to the awarding of a contract should be done so without discrimination or favorability to any bidder.
If an intentional or unintentional mistake occurs during any phase of the bid process, a bidder who is negatively impacted has the right to file a bid protest. Below, our Lakeland construction lawyers have outlined some of the specifics.
Who is eligible to file a bid protest?
To be deemed eligible to file a bid protest, you must be personally affected by the improper awarding of the contract because of a mistake made during the solicitation period. This is considered a standing to protest. For example, if you are the second-ranked bidder and you believe the contract was inaccurately awarded due to a flaw in the scoring process, you have substantial interest in the accuracy of the process because you are the next in line to receive the contract. On the contrary, if you are the third or fourth-ranked bidder, unless you can prove that all bidders in front of you were ranked in error, you do not have standing to protest the bid because even if the award is proven to be inaccurate, your firm would still not receive the contract.
When must the bid protest be filed?
You have 72 hours after a bid award is announced to file an intent to contest a bid. This document includes the solicitation number, the solicitation title, and states that you intend to formally contest the bid and will provide proof that the contract was awarded unfairly.
The formal written protest must be filed within 10 days of filing the notice of protest. The formal written protest must include specific details to support your claim that the award was given out improperly and most commonly is supplemented with case laws and statutory laws that relate to the bid protest, which is why it is highly recommended to work with an experienced construction attorney in Lakeland during this process.
What happens after filing formal written notice?
After the formal written notice is filed, the government agency must immediately stop the awarding of the contract in question until the matter is resolved. A resolution will come in one of two ways. One, as a requirement of the bid protest process, the government agency will organize a meeting with all interested parties within 7 days of the formal written protest. If an agreement is reached, the matter is considered resolved. If an agreement cannot be reached, however, the case will move on to a hearing, where evidence and testimony will be presented by your Lakeland construction lawyer in front of an administrative law judge, who will release a recommended order 30 days after the close of the hearing.
Construction Law Experts from Cotney Construction Law
At Cotney Construction Law we understand that your livelihood as a business owner depends on upholding the fair solicitation procedures of government contracts. In order for the bid process to remain a fair environment for construction professionals, however, the government agencies conducting solicitations must be held accountable for the integrity of scoring and awarding contracts. If you believe that you have been negatively impacted by a mistake made during the bidding process, you should contact a construction lawyer in Lakeland immediately.
Please call us at 813.579.3278 or submit our contact request form to request a consultation with a qualified bid protest lawyer.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.