Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: ARINC Engineering Services, LLC
Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest was not clearly meritorious, and reimbursement of protest costs following agency corrective action therefore is not warranted, where additional record development and substantial further analysis would have been required to resolve protest.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
ARINC Engineering Services, LLC requested that the GAO recommend that it be reimbursed the costs of filing and pursuing its protest of the issuance of a task order to General Dynamics One Source, LLC (GDOS) for information technology support services at the Joint Air Defense Operations Center at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC. After a debriefing, ARINC filed its initial protest arguing that GDOS’s technical and price evaluations were flawed. In its comments to the agency report and a supplemental protest, ARINC challenged virtually every strength assigned to GDOS’s proposal. Following the agency’s supplemental agency report, the GAO submitted a detailed list of questions to the agency to answer to supplement the record; rather than answer the questions, the agency took corrective action.
ARINC argued that it should be reimbursed because its protest grounds were clearly meritorious, and that the agency unduly delayed taking corrective action by failing to do so until after both an initial and supplemental agency report, as well as ARINC’s responses, were filed. Regardless of whether the corrective action was not prompt, the GAO found that reimbursement was not appropriate. The GAO pointed out that the agency’s corrective action did not concede that its technical evaluations had been flawed.
Protestors must remember that corrective action by the agency will not always lead to a valid claim for reimbursement for the costs of pursuing a protest. The GAO will only recommend reimbursement if the agency unduly delays taking corrective action in the face of a clearly meritorious protest. No matter what the outcome, however, protestors should always maintain detailed records of the costs of the protest, broken down by individual issues pursued, to be prepared if the protestor does seek reimbursement.