Greenberg Traurig Government Contracts Team Secures Win in Protests Before GAO, SBA, OHA

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Greenberg Traurig, LLP secured a critical win in inter-related protests before the Government Accountability Organization (GAO), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) on behalf of client Tribalco, LLC.

A Government Contracts & Projects team from global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP secured a critical win in inter-related protests before the Government Accountability Organization (GAO), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) on behalf of client Tribalco, LLC. Shareholder Richard Moorhouse, Of Counsel Ryan C. Bradel, and Associate Józef S. Przygrodzki represented Tribalco.

Tribalco, LLC, was the awardee on a contract by the United States Air Force to provide shelters to house flight training devices. Before OHA, Sea Box appealed the SBA’s prior determination that Tribalco was a qualified small business and thus eligible for the contract. Then, at the GAO, Sea Box argued that the Air Force eliminated its proposal based on responsibility-related criteria, and that any responsibility-based questions should have been referred to SBA. Specifically, Sea Box argued that the Air Force’s rejection of Sea Box’s proposal based on its failure to submit documentation showing that its product had been previously certified or accredited to operate at a minimum security level of “secret” was actually a determination on its responsibility. Sea Box additionally argued that the Air Force should have provided Sea Box with notice when its proposal was removed from consideration, so that it could protest the rejection earlier.

Sea Box was unsuccessful on all fronts because it had already been eliminated from competition, and could not have suffered any harm. Sea Box appealed the dismissal stating it had no intention of filing the protest, and merely forwarded information to the contracting officer. OHA accepted the arguments of the Greenberg Traurig team that the SBA area office was correct and that Sea Box had, in fact, filed a size protest which was properly dismissed for lack of standing. The decisions can be found at Sea Box., Inc., Size Determination No. 02-2017-086 (2017) and Size Appeal of Sea Box, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5846 (2017).

Sea Box was equally unsuccessful before the GAO. Sea Box, Inc., B-414742 (Sep. 6, 2017). GAO rejected Sea Box’s arguments and held that the requirement for documentation that an offeror’s product has previously received a particular security accreditation is responsibility related, since the requirement does not pertain to the offeror’s ability to perform. As the Air Force’s rejection of Sea Box’s proposal was not on the basis of its responsibility, but rather due to its proposal being found technically unacceptable because Sea Box failed to provide required documentation, GAO denied Sea Box’s protest on the ground that the question should have been referred to SBA. Mr. Moorhouse has more than 30 years of experience litigating procurement award and contract disputes at the federal, state, and local levels. He has extensively prosecuted and defended complex bid protest and claim matters before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the GAO, the District of Columbia Contract Appeals Board, and the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.

Mr. Bradel is an experienced government contracts lawyer. He focuses his practice on government contracts litigation matters and has successfully represented clients before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the Boards of Contract Appeal, the GAO, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, and state and federal courts.

Mr. Przygrodzki focuses his practice on government contracts litigation, counseling, and investigations. He advises clients on all aspects of government procurement, including ethics and compliance in procurement and administration of state and local government contracts.

About Greenberg Traurig’s Government Contracts & Projects Practice

Greenberg Traurig’s Government Contracts & Projects Practice helps companies navigate the highly regulated acquisition and compliance processes of the federal, state and local governments and their agencies. The firm’s attorneys and governmental affairs professionals assist both experienced contractors and newcomers with issues arising from sales of commercial off-the-shelf and customized products, services and managed solutions to governments at the national and local levels. The practice also focuses on meeting both the transactional and U.S. regulatory needs of clients in the commercial, defense, aerospace and other high-tech sectors.

About Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GTLaw) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. One firm worldwide, GTLaw has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, was named the largest firm in the U.S. by Law360 in 2017, and among the Top 20 on the 2016 Am Law Global 100. Web: http://www.gtlaw.com Twitter: @GT_Law.

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Lourdes Brezo Martinez
Greenberg Traurig
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