As we have discussed throughout this series, there are several ways a contractor can protest a bid. The most common way to file a notice protesting a bid is through the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In this final section, our Orlando construction lawyers will discuss the process of protesting a bid with GAO. If you are interested in learning more about bid protests, please read sections one, two, three, and four. Remember, for knowledgeable legal counsel pertaining to bid protests, contact our Orlando construction attorneys today.
The Process of Protesting a Bid
When a protester files a notice with GAO challenging a bid, an attorney adviser for GAO will promptly contact the contracting agency related to the project. This sets in motion an automatic stay of performance and provides the contracting agency with up to 30 days to provide a response to the protest. The contracting agency will then submit an Agency Report to GAO. The Agency Report is a comprehensive packet that possesses all of the documentation for the procurement process including the contracting officer’s statement related to the protest allegations, technical and price evaluations from each bidder, and any relevant information related to the bid process.
Reviewing the Agency Report
After GAO receives the Agency Report, they will work in conjunction with an attorney that is “not engaged in competitive decision making” to review the Agency Report. This attorney is issued a protective order that prohibits disclosure of the confidential information in the Agency Report. After reviewing the Agency Report and after the protester submits any challenges to the report, unresolved issues are reviewed in a hearing conducted by GAO. Within 100 days of receiving the original notice, GAO will come to a final decision in regard to the protest.
Rulings for GAO
According to GAO’s website, a protest generally concludes with one of four rulings. Here are the four ways a protest typically ends:
- Withdrawn Protest: The protester elects to voluntarily remove their claim.
- Dismissed Protest: The protest application does not qualify by GAO’s standards. It was either not filled out properly or fails to meet other requirements.
- Denied Protest: GAO determines that the protest lacks merit and is denied.
- Sustained Protest: GAO determines that the protest was valid and makes a corrective action. The protester’s legal fees are reimbursed among other forms of relief.
A corrective action can be made by GAO during any phase of a protest. Whether this results in a reevaluation or modification of the proposals, a new awardee, or a termination of the award, GAO regularly offers some form of relief to protesters.
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.