Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Odle Management Group, LLC
Agency: Department of Labor
Disposition: Request for reimbursement granted in part, denied in part
- GAO recommends reimbursement of the costs of filing and pursuing protest challenging the agency’s conduct of misleading discussions, where issue was clearly meritorious but agency unduly delayed taking corrective action.
- Protest costs are not recommended with respect to issues concerning agency’s evaluation of proposals and source selection decision where such issues were readily severable from challenge to agency’s conduct of misleading discussions, the only issue found to be clearly meritorious at Government Accountability Office “outcome prediction” alternative dispute resolution conference
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Odle Management Group, LLC (OMG) requested that the GAO recommend it be reimbursed for the costs of pursuing its bid protest against the award to CHP International of a contract for outreach and admissions, and career training services. OMG initially protested that the agency engaged in misleading discussions, and, after an “outcome prediction” ADR conference, the GAO advised the agency that it would likely sustain OMG’s protest. The agency took corrective action, reopening discussions with competitive range offerors and obtaining revised proposals.
The agency conceded that OMG was entitled to reimbursement for those protest costs relating to its allegation regarding misleading discussions. The agency objected, however, to the remaining costs on the grounds that the GAO never made a determination as to whether OMG’s remaining arguments were clearly meritorious. The GAO agreed with the agency, noting that successful protestors can be reimbursed for all issues pursued and not merely those upon which it prevails. The GAO found, however, that in this case the issues were not so intertwined or interrelated as to not be readily severable. It recommended that OMG be reimbursed only for costs relating to its protest on the issue of misleading discussions.
A protestor should always keep detailed records indicating the amount of work dedicated to each issue the protestor is pursuing against the agency. If the agency takes corrective action based on a single issue, and the other issues argued by the protestor are sufficiently distinct, the protestor may only be reimbursed for the costs relating to that single issue. Failure to properly separate and document these costs could lead to a denial of reimbursement for all costs.