U.S. Court of Federal Claims grants judgment on the administrative record in firm client's protest of advance debris removal contracts awarded by Army Corps of Engineers.
On June 15, 2009, Judge Mary Ellen Coster Williams of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims granted in full AshBritt Inc.'s protest of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' award of advance regional debris removal contracts. (Click here to view the Opinion.) These contracts are intended to put debris removal contractors in place in advance of a hurricane or other disaster to allow for immediate mobilization following an event. AshBritt had been awarded contracts in certain regions but protested its failure to win additional awards in other regions. Though the award of the various contracts were interrelated because of adjacency limitations under the solicitation, the Court accepted AshBritt's argument that it should be permitted to retain the contracts it had been awarded while protesting only those additional contracts for which it was eligible under the adjacency restrictions. The Court agreed with AshBritt that as to those contracts, the Corps had engaged in unequal discussions and had deviated from the evaluation criteria in the solicitation, and that AshBritt had established prejudice from those errors. In making its finding of prejudice, the Court accepted AshBritt's legal argument that there is a lower prejudice threshold in the case of pre-award discussion errors. The Court ordered the Corps to re-award the contracts that AshBritt protested.