Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Army
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Quest Diagnostics, Inc., based on the award of a contract to Laboratory Corporation of America, Inc. (LabCorp), under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Army for laboratory testing services.
The RFP sought a contractor for clinical reference laboratory services support for the Army. The solicitation contemplated award of an indefinite-quantity contract for a six-month transition period, one-year base period, and four one-year options based on: technical capability; past and present performance; and small and small disadvantaged business participation.
Quest first argues that the agency acted unreasonably when it assigned Quest’s proposal a rating of good where Quest was the incumbent and therefore, had underlying strengths that were ignored. GAO stated that Quest’s status as incumbent was irrelevant to the evaluation of proposals and reflects nothing but a mere disagreement with the agency’s judgment. GAO agreed with the agency that Quest’s proposal did not receive a rating of excellent where it failed to demonstrate a superior understanding and exceptional strengths as required.
Quest next argued that the agency acted unreasonably in selecting LabCorp’s lower-rated, lower-priced proposal for award where the evaluation scheme provided that non-price factors would be of significantly greater weight than price. GAO found this argument to be without merit. The agency reasonably determined that the two proposals represented equal value under the technical capability factor, but Quest’s slightly higher rating under the past/present performance factor did not justify paying a higher price over the life of the contract.