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Technatomy Corp. v. United States

United States Court of Federal Claims

July 31, 2019, Filed under seal

No. 19-369C

Opinion

 [*390]  ORDER

WOLSKI, Senior Judge.

For the reasons stated on the record at the status conference held on Thursday, July 18, 2019, the cross-motions for judgment on the administrative record of defendant and defendant-intervenors are GRANTED, and plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record is DENIED. A brief summary of that ruling follows.

In this case, after a Government Accountability Office (GAO) protest brought by plaintiff Technatomy Corp. was sustained on two grounds and denied on several others, see Admin. R. (AR) 36333-58, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA or agency) undertook corrective action. This resulted in the award of task order contracts to fifteen offerors, but the plaintiff was not among them. AR 36502. Technatomy then filed this post-award bid protest, challenging the price reasonableness and best value analyses conducted by DISA upon the GAO's recommendation, as well as several aspects of the technical evaluations that were unsuccessfully advanced in the GAO protest. Compl. ¶¶ 176-212.

The Court determined that DISA [**3]  conducted a meaningful price reasonableness analysis, in compliance with 48 C.F.R. § 15.404-1(b)(2), by comparing the prices of offerors to each other's, to the average price, to the independent government cost estimate, and to the prices under other contracts, and by explaining that variations were due to differing risk preferences and technical approaches. See AR 36359-62. The Court also found that it was not arbitrary for DISA to perform best-value tradeoffs only between plaintiff and the awardees with higher prices and higher technical ratings. When an offeror beats the protester on both grounds, no tradeoff is even possible, see 48 C.F.R. § 15.101-1(a), and the Court notes that at least three non-awardees --- IPKeys, LongView International Technology Solutions, and Unisys, see AR 4329-32, 4364-68, 4435-40 --- had lower prices and better technical ratings than Technatomy. The tradeoffs that were performed properly focused on whether the specific qualities, strengths, and associated benefits of proposals justified paying a higher price than what plaintiff offered. See AR 36464-502. And the agency followed the solicitation criteria, see AR 492, in assigning and treating a rating of neutral confidence for one offeror's past performance, [**4]  AR 4261, 36475 --- a determination that the Court cannot find improper, given the great deference afforded to such judgments, see Gulf Grp., Inc. v. United States, 61 Fed. Cl. 338, 356-57 (2004).

Concerning aspects of the technical evaluations that were not addressed in the corrective action, the Court found that none of Technatomy's challenges demonstrated arbitrary and prejudicial action by the agency. The sorting process used by DISA in its initial source selection followed the relative importance of each non-price factor and, contrary to Technatomy's assertion, the second-most important factor was decisive in the determination not to make an award to an offeror. See AR 4462 (NCI, Inc.). The one weakness assigned plaintiff was rationally supported, was based on solicitation criteria, and also did not affect its technical rating. See AR 112-13, 2775, 4431-32. Although Technatomy appears to be the only offeror to have received critical notations from the evaluation board concerning proposal aspects that were not deemed weaknesses, see AR 4013, 4431, these two notes did not factor into the best-value calculus, see AR 36464-502. The Court found that the evaluation board's failure to enter on a chart the dates that the legal team and the board finished [**5]  editing Technatomy's evaluation did not prove that the evaluation was not completed, but merely showed that the chart itself was not completed --- as numerous other fields  [*391]  were left blank. See AR 3962-68. The record did not support Technatomy's speculative claim that evaluators must have been too tired by the time they reached "T" in the alphabet to properly focus on its problem statements submissions, as offerors Unisys and Vencore received strengths for Factor 3. See AR 4436-38, 4444-46.2 And plaintiff failed to show that the agency arbitrarily deprived it of an "Outstanding" rating for Factor 4, as the only offerors who achieved that rating had at least four strengths in the factor, see AR 4271, 4299, 4312, 4368, 4375, 4404, 4418, 4440, 4448, compared to Technatomy's two, see AR 4433.

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144 Fed. Cl. 388 *; 2019 U.S. Claims LEXIS 938 **

TECHNATOMY CORP., Plaintiff, v. THE UNITED STATES, Defendant, and SOLERS, INC., NORTHROP GRUMMAN SYSTEMS CORP. and BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, INC., Defendant-Intervenors.

Subsequent History: Reissued August 13, 2019 [**1] 1

Prior History: Technatomy Corp. v. United States, 2019 U.S. Claims LEXIS 255 (Fed. Cl., Mar. 28, 2019)

CORE TERMS

protest, offerors, solicitation, bid