Agency: Defense Logistics Agency
Disposition: Protest and Request for Reconsideration Denied
Decided: July 6, 2020
Keywords: Filing Deadlines
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: Under statutory filing deadlines, a protester’s failure to file comments within 10 calendar days shall result in dismissal of the protest, except where GAO has granted an extension or has established a shorter period.
Summary of Facts
Sysco Corporation filed a protest with GAO on February 11, 2020, arguing that the agency unreasonably rejected its firm’s proposal as late under solicitation No. SPE30019R0011. On March 16, GAO issued a notice extending the deadline for submission of comments, and issued a protective order for Sysco’s protest. Sysco did not submit comments on the agency report by the established deadline, and the protest was dismissed. Sysco filed this request for reconsideration on April 6.
Basis of Protest
Sysco argues that its actions, such as hiring counsel and communicating with GAO through the date set for submitting comments, show that it did not intend to abandon its protest. Sysco also argues that GAO could have decided the protest based on the filings it had received. Lastly, Sysco argues that its outside attorney had logistical difficulties in filing comments due to the COVID-19 “Stay at Home Order.”
GAO explained that filing deadlines in the Regulations are prescribed under the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 to enable GAO to comply with the statute’s mandate that protests are resolved expeditiously. GAO further explained that to avoid delay in the resolution of protests, the regulations provide that “a protester’s failure to file comments within 10 calendar days shall result in dismissal of the protest except where GAO has granted an extension or has established a shorter period.”
GAO notes that since, here, Sysco did not submit comments to the agency report by the established deadline, under the regulations the protest must be dismissed. GAO found that the fact that Sysco did not intend to abandon its protest, or that the protest could be decided on initial pleadings, does not negate the regulation’s requirement to dismiss the protest for failing to submit comments.
GAO also concluded that the fact that Sysco’s attorney experienced logistical and technical difficulties in filing its comments, does not provide a basis for reconsideration. Sysco’s failure to submit comments by the deadline required dismissal of its protest.
The GAO denied the request for reconsideration on this basis.