Monday, March 18, 2019

Bid Protest Costs must be Adequately Supported to be Reimbursable

When companies are successful in winning a bid protest before the GAO (Government Accountability Office), the GAO often also recommends that the successful protester be reimbursed reasonable costs of filing and pursuing its protest. Such a recommendation to reimburse successful protesters however, is not a blank check. A protester seeking to recover the costs of pursuing its protest must submit sufficient documentation to support its monetary claim.

Although the GAO has recognized from time to time that the requirement for such documentation may entail certain practical difficulties, it does not consider it unreasonable to require a protester to document in some detail the amount and purposes of activities associated with the claimed effort and establish that the claimed hourly rates reflect the concerned individuals' actual rates or compensation. Ultimately, the burden is on the protester to submit sufficient evidence to support its claim. That burden is not met by general, inadequately-supported statements that particular costs have been incurred.

A company name AeroSage LLC learned about the need to adequately support its claim the hard way. AeroSage won its bid protest and was invited by GAO to submit a proposal for its cost in pursuing the protest. AeroSage submitted a claim totalling $26 thousand. Ultimately, all it got was the $350 EPDS (Electronic Protest Docketing System) fee. AeroSage's claim consisted primarily the hours incurred by its President in pursuing the bid protest (110 hours) at $250 per hour. The problem for AeroSage however was that there was no data to back up the number of hours or the hourly rate other than general statements that the amounts represented accurate data or data that was inconclusive as to its relevance to the claim.

The full GAO decision can be found here.

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