As we have covered in sections one, two, and three, there are several reasons why a contractor elects to challenge a bid awarded to a competitor. In this section, we will focus on ways you can protest a bid and how the options greatly vary. Fortunately, one of our Orlando construction attorneys can assist you with filing a notice to protest a bid.
Options to File a Claim
Whether it’s a pre-bid, pre-award, or post-award protest, there are three ways you can protest a bid including:
- Agency Protest: You can protest directly to the contracting officer or agency that made the decision. This is cost-effective; however, considering this form of protest is submitted to the same source that made the decision, the ratio of success is low. Unless the contracting officer made a clear mistake during the selection process, this is usually an ineffective means of protest.
- GAO Protest: Through the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), you can submit a notice within 10 days of the date that the protester “knows the basis of the protest” to file their challenge. GAO protests are the most common type of protest and also have the highest rate of success as shown in this Bid Protest Annual Report.
- Federal Court Protest: Significantly more expensive than the other options, a contractor can file an appeal to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Appealing through a federal court will require legal counsel to present your case.
The Differing Regulations of How You File a Claim
Depending on the way you file a claim, the legal options you have moving forward change greatly. Here are examples of the difference between filing a GAO and federal court protest:
Time-Sensitive: Unlike a GAO protest, which has a short window of 10 days to file a claim, a protester has ample time to file a claim through federal court.
Decision Deadline: A GAO case is decided within 100 days of the time the appeal was filed; whereas, a federal court process has no specific ruling on the total time to make a decision.
Automatic Stay: For GAO claims, the filing of a claim sets in motion an automatic stay of performance. However, notices filed with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims do not prompt an automatic stay. In some cases, an injunction may be filed instead.
Appeal Process: It’s important to speak with an Orlando construction attorney to learn more about your appeal options for each type of claim.
For more information on bid protests, please read section five.
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.