Government Contract Attorneys
A government contracts attorney can and inform your business of legal, legislative, or industry practices and concerns that must be accounted for when acting as an offeror for government contract. An experienced government contracts lawyer is typically knowledgeable about a broad array of concerns that can arise during the preparation of a proposal, after its submission, during the negotiating process, and concerns for after a deal is struck. Furthermore, an experienced government contracts attorney would also be well-versed issues due to a corporation’s non-profit status or because the contract involves a foreign military sale. In short, our practice focuses on a number of issues that may arise for companies engaged in government contracting. Regardless of whether our client is facing a bid protest, a convenience termination settlement, or negotiating on a submitted price proposal for the award of a directed contract businesses can rely on the experienced guidance provided by the government contracting attorneys of Meredith & Narine.
Government Contract Attorneys Provide Guidance in the Preparation and Submission Bids Proposals and Offers
As most are already familiar, where the government intends to award any sort of cost-reimbursable contract, it must first perform a “cost realism” analysis on the proposed awardee’s offer. It must determine whether the offeror can perform at its proposed price. In other words, is the offeror’s price too low? Furthermore, the opposite – whether the price offered is too high – must be considered as part of the offer’s “cost reasonableness.” Failure to fully apply either concept can result in the offeror offering a price that cannot be accepted. Therefore, careful guidance in the preparation and submission of bids, proposals, and offers can be invaluable.
Consider that in evaluating “cost realism”, an agency must evaluate whether the offeror’s price is too low by considering the offeror’s particular technical approach. Simple mechanical comparisons of prices to each other or the government’s own estimate will not suffice in such an analysis.
In Alcazar Trades, Inc. et al., the protester challenged the GSA’s award of a contract for custodial services to a higher-priced offeror ($10.1 million vs. $7.6 million). The GSA responded that the protester’s price was determined to be unrealistic (i.e., too low) when compared to the government’s own estimate and the other offered prices, three of which were between $10.1 and $10.15 million.
Here, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) sustained the protest. According to the GAO, in order to determine price realism, the evaluator must compare each offeror’s proposed price to its own particular technical approach. Merely comparing an offeror’s proposed price to a government estimate or the other offerors’ proposed prices is not a proper analysis. GAO recommended that the GSA reevaluate the offers with a proper cost realism analysis. B-400001.4, April 1, 2015.
Furthermore, consider that even an offer for line-item price of $0.00 does not necessarily fail for lack of cost reasonableness. In B&B Medical Services, Inc. the protester in a VA competition for a contract to provide home oxygen services argued that the awardees pricing was unrealistically low. Among its arguments, the protester pointed to one line-item where the awardee had offered a price “$0.00” for rental of a certain system. The protester argued that this price was “illusory,” making the offer ambiguous.
The GAO rejected the argument, holding that in a fixed-price acquisition an offeror may well propose pricing of $0.00 for a line-item. Indeed, the GAO viewed the entering of the price of $0.00 for the line-item as a commitment to supply at the item at no charge to the government. On the other hand, had the awardee simply left the line-item blank, the offer would have had to be considered ambiguous, since it would call into question the offeror’s commitment to supply the item and at what price. Our careful guidance can assist and guide your business in leveraging government contracting regulations & provisions like these to obtain or protect a government contract award.
Contracting Attorneys Handle an Array of Issues and Concerns
During the course of our more than 55 years of combined legal experience, our attorneys have addressed a number of issues unique to government contracting. Some of the issues that may arise during government contract management can include:
- Foreign Military Sales – U.S.-based businesses and companies must tread carefully when pursuing, marketing, negotiating, or performing government contracts in foreign nations. The U.S. business must account for both American law and foreign law. Furthermore, the Foreign Military Sales program is subject to regulation including the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation (DFAR).
- Defective Pricing – Defective pricing is a concept that does not have a commercial parallel. This concept created by the Truth in Negotiating Act (TINA) requires offerors to disclose otherwise closely guarded details of your direct and indirect costs. Failure to provide this information or to secure an exemption is defective pricing, a violation of the law.
- Debarment, Defense of Fraud Investigations — What is sometimes called a death sentence for corporations; debarment can be the consequence of a Civil False Claims Act “qui tam” action. Because standards for imposing this harsh penalty are subjective and based on the debarring official’s view, the risk must be accounted for and considered from the outset of the process. Our attorneys can handle debarment and defense of fraud investigations.
Furthermore, our firm can guide your business through the process of a bid protest. SBA regulations allow for prospective bidders, or offerors, to challenge the contracting officer’s selection of a procurement’s NAICS code by way of a bid protest to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). The designation of an NAICS code can have serious implications, since a firm that is “small” under one NAICS code may be “large” under another. Furthermore, it is essential for companies to preserve their rights due to a bid protest. A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has now established the precedent that an offeror who fails to participate in an NAICS code protest cannot then challenge the code that is selected.
Our Government Contract Attorneys Provide Guidance & Address your Commercial Contract Concerns
The experienced government contracting lawyers of Meredith & Narine are committed to providing meticulous, on-point guidance for all of our clients. We are dedicated to pursuing effective approaches to negotiation and legal concerns that may arise during the process. Furthermore, we are proud to defend businesses facing debarment due to subjective interpretations of conduct and sometimes arcane or counter-intuitive government rules. To schedule a legal consultation, contact the attorneys of Meredith & Narine government contracts practice contact us online today. You can also reach our government contracts attorney, Mr. Mark Lamer, Esq., by calling us at (215) 995-2769.