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CO Not Required to Determine if Team Was Joint Venture

An award decision was not arbitrary and capricious, according to the Court of Federal Claims, because the contracting officer acted reasonably and consistently with the solicitation when she considered the awardee's proposal and draft teaming agreement. The solicitation for building services was restricted to holders of Federal Supply Schedule contracts. While the solicitation was still open, the eventual awardees asked whether a large business schedule holder could enter into a joint venture agreement with a small business schedule holder and receive credit under a small business evaluation factor. In a solicitation amendment, the government responded the JV would be considered a separate legal entity and would not be considered a schedule holder, but the businesses could enter into a teaming agreement and receive the evaluation credit. The two businesses submitted a draft teaming agreement with their proposal and were selected for award. The protester contended the CO should have analyzed the teaming agreement under state law and concluded the awardee was a JV.

Unrealistic Approach

The protester lacked standing because it did not have a substantial chance for award. However, even if the protester had standing, the protest was meritless. The protester's contention was grounded in the view that the CO "is required to analyze a document styled a [t]eaming [a]greement and undertake a rigorous legal comparison between its terms and the terms of agreements that have been determined to constitute [JVs] under [state] law." The protester's proposed approach was "unrealistic in view of the well-known burdens on [COs]." Its argument presupposed the CO would have recognized a potential legal issue arising under state law where the operative document was called a "teaming agreement," did not contain the words "joint venture," and satisfied the solicitation's requirements for a teaming agreements. ( Brooks Range Contract Services, Inc. v. U.S., et al., FedCl, 56 CCF 79,718)




(The news featured above is a selection from the news covered in the Government Contracts Report Letter, which is published weekly and distributed to subscribers of the Government Contracts Reporter. )


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