Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: InfraMap Corporation
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Request 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:
InfraMap Corporation requested that the GAO recommend that it be reimbursed for the costs of pursuing its bid protest against the award to Accumark, Inc. of a contract for underground utilities location (UUL) services at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. InfraMap had originally protested after the initial award to Accumark on the grounds that the awardee’s price was unrealistically low and reflected that the awardee had no knowledge of the effort needed to perform. After reviewing the agency report, InfraMap challenged the agency’s price realism evaluation on several grounds not included in its initial protest. Before the GAO received an agency report on InfraMap’s supplemental arguments, the agency elected to take corrective action.
The GAO first noted that it will only recommend reimbursement of a protestor’s costs in light of agency corrective action where the protest was clearly meritorious, not a close question. The GAO pointed out that the agency’s corrective action was in fact timely, as it was in response to the supplemental protest and was taken before the due date for the supplemental agency report. With regards to InfraMap’s initial protest, the GAO conceded that the corrective action was not prompt, but held that the protest was not clearly meritorious. Because the GAO would have had to conduct substantial further analysis of the parties’ positions, it did not consider the protest to be clearly meritorious.
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.