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Ulstein Maritime, Ltd. v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

 November 25, 1987

No. 86-2127

Opinion

 [*1053]  DAVIS, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island invalidating a certificate of competency issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA), by which the SBA had certified the responsibility of a low bidder for a contract to manufacture marine thruster units for the Navy. The district court ordered the Navy to award the contract to the next low, responsive and responsible bidder. The Government has appealed,  [**2]  arguing that the relief granted by the district court is equivalent to an injunction against the SBA, and that injunctive relief against that agency is barred by 15 U.S.C. § 634(b)(1). The Government also says that the district court lacked the authority to order the Navy to award the contract to the next low, responsive and responsible bidder. Because we find that the district court has the authority to grant the remedies it imposed, we affirm.

In December 1985 the Naval Engineering and Facilities Command (NAVFAC) issued an invitation for bids for six marine thruster units. The low bidder was Thrustmaster Marine, Inc. (TMI), a Florida corporation. The Navy determined that the bid by TMI met the formal requirements of the invitation for bids and thus was "responsive" within the meaning of 48 C.F.R. § 14.301. Since the Navy had not previously dealt with TMI, the bid was referred  [*1054]  to the Defense Contract Administration Services (DCAS) to determine whether TMI would be capable of performing the contract if its bid was accepted. Meanwhile, appellees Schottel and Ulstein, the third and fourth lowest bidders on the contract, filed bid protests [**3]  with the Navy pursuant to 48 C.F.R. § 33.103 (1985), alleging, among other grounds, that TMI lacked the manufacturing capability to fulfill the contract.

Following its investigation, DCAS decided that TMI was not a "responsible" bidder (as defined by 48 C.F.R. § 9.104-1 (1985)) in that it did not have adequate production capability. DCAS found that TMI was basically a one-man operation which lacked the equipment, personnel or facilities to perform the final end item assembly, and that TMI thus failed to qualify as a "manufacturer" as required by the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, 41 U.S.C. § 35(a). See 41 C.F.R. § 50-206.51. DCAS therefore recommended that the contract should not be awarded to TMI.

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833 F.2d 1052 *; 1987 U.S. App. LEXIS 15526 **; 34 Cont. Cas. Fed. (CCH) P75,405

Ulstein Maritime, Ltd. and Schottel of America, Inc., Plaintiffs, Appellees, v. United States of America, et al., Defendants, Appellants

Prior History:  [**1]   Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Hon. Raymond J. Pettine, Senior U.S. District Judge.

CORE TERMS

district court, injunction, bidders, bids, certificate of competency, injunctive relief, regulations, judicial review, declaratory judgment, disappointed, contracting, courts, government contract, procurement, attachment, immunity, invalid, powers, legislative history, responsible bidder, manufacturer, declaratory, equitable, cases, funds

Commercial Law (UCC), Secured Transactions (Article 9), General Overview, Public Contracts Law, Bids & Formation, Offer & Acceptance, Acceptances & Awards, Business Aids & Assistance, Small Businesses, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Authority of Government Officers, Contract Interpretation, Civil Procedure, Judgments, Declaratory Judgments, Remedies, Injunctions, Declaratory Judgments, Dispute Resolution, Bid Protests, Reviewability, Questions of Law, Torts, Public Entity Liability, Immunities, Judicial Immunity, Exceeding Statutory Authority, Antitrust & Trade Law, US Department of Justice Actions, Civil Actions, Injunctions