Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Army
Disposition: Reimbursement amount recommended.
Keywords: Bid protest costs
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In support of a request for payment of bid protest costs, the protester’s counsel must submit sufficient evidence to support its monetary claim, which must be adequately documented and reasonable in its nature and amount
Baine Clark Company, Inc. (Baine) has asked GAO to determine the amount that it should recover from the Department of the Army (Army) for costs of filing and pursuing a protest of the adequacy of price evaluation of quotations under a request for quotations issued for the lease of three pick-up trucks.
GAO conducted “outcome prediction” alternative dispute resolution, reporting the anticipated decision sustaining the firm’s protests and recommending reimbursement of reasonable protest costs. Baine submitted its claim to the agency for reimbursement of attorneys’ fees, itemized by the firm’s initial attorney and his retained co-counsel.
The Army offered to settle for a lesser amount, claiming that some of the attorney time entries appeared duplicative or excessive, or were associated with a different protest previously dismissed by GAO. Baine objects to the reduction of costs.
GAO states that a protester seeking to recover the costs of pursuing a protest must submit sufficient evidence to support its monetary claim and the amount claimed may be recovered to the extent that the claim is shown to be sufficiently related to the filing and pursuit of successful protest grounds, is adequately documented, and is reasonable in its nature and amount. GAO finds that three of the attorney’s itemized work entries are disallowed where the entries aggregate allowable and unallowable costs in a way that GAO cannot tell from the record what portion is unallowable. Therefore, GAO finds that the questionable entries must be disallowed in their entirety.
As for six work entries for the co-counsel, GAO finds that two of the work entries are not allowable since they concern efforts toward possible settlement of the action. The other four challenged by the Army are allowable costs, and will be included in the recommendation. GAO recommends reimbursement to Baine in the amount of $24,908.34.