Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest denied.
In a negotiated procurement that required offerors to submit a portion of cost/price proposals electronically, agency’s elimination of proposal from the competitive range is reasonable where the record shows that the protester electronically sent, but the agency did not receive, a portion of the protester’s cost/price proposal.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
The protester contends that it timely submitted part 10 of its cost/price proposal via e-mail and that its delivery receipt proves that the agency received the e-mail prior to the submission due date. In support of its argument, Lakeshore’s network administrator submitted a statement that, to the best of his knowledge, the protester’s e-mail server was fully functional and operational on May 8, and was capable of sending and receiving e-mail. The network administrator also confirms that it was Lakeshore’s server that generated the delivery status notification, which the protester refers to as a delivery receipt. The network administrator states that to the best of his knowledge, Lakeshore’s May 8 e-mail was delivered to the agency. Therefore, the protester believes that the agency improperly excluded its proposal from the competitive range. GAO states that it is an offeror’s responsibility to deliver its proposal to the proper place at the proper time.
While the protester has shown that it timely sent part 10 of the proposal, there is no evidence that it was received by the agency prior to the due date for proposal submissions. As explained above, protester’s delivery receipt, which was sent by the protester’s own e-mail server, confirms only that the message was successfully relayed from Lakeshore’s system. It does not confirm that the proposal arrived at the agency’s e-mail system. The Navy’s Information Technology (IT) Specialist has submitted a statement explaining that the delivery receipt submitted by the protester is only a relay message, as opposed to a delivery message. According to the IT Specialist, relay messages indicate that an e-mail message was relayed or sent from the sending server. Thus, the IT Specialist states that the message generated by Lakeshore’s server merely confirmed that the e-mail had been sent or relayed by Landmark’s server, but it does not indicate whether the e-mail was received by the NMCI server. Accordingly, the Navy argues that Lakeshore has failed to show timely delivery of part 10 of its cost/price proposal. Because there is no evidence that part 10 of the protester’s cost/price proposal was successfully delivered to the agency’s e-mail box prior to the due date for receipt of proposals, the protester has failed to satisfy its burden of showing that it timely delivered its proposal to the agency. The protest is denied.