Court Allows Bid Protester to Explore Possible Bias of Evaluator

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A protester recently filed a bid protest challenging the US Marine Corps decision to award several new contracts for information technology systems, claiming that the government was not evenhanded in its evaluation.  While a review of a bid protest is usually limited to the documents produced by the government to support its decision, in this matter the court agreed that the plaintiff was entitled to further information given that the case was one of those rare situations that indicated “some personal animus or bias on the part of” an agency official.

The agency official had apparently expressed “extreme frustration” that her summary for award to the company she preferred had not been accepted by agency counsel and had gone to great lengths to criticize a competing proposal.  The court noted that, while there might be an “innocuous explanation” for the official’s conduct, “bias could more easily explain” it.  As a result, the protester was entitled to seek information beyond the documents which the government had included as part of the record for review.

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