Williams Wilson
Bid Protest

Florida law requires that government generally procure of goods and services on a competitive basis. The most common types of government procurement methods include Invitations to Bid (ITB), Requests for Proposals (RFP) and Requests for Qualifications (RFQ). ITB’s involve selection of the lowest qualified bidder, utilizing fixed qualifications and specifications. RFP’s and RFQ’s both involve comparative evaluations of proposals and may involve some post-selection negotiations. State law requires that competitive procurement be open and fair, and provides for challenges (bid protests) when an unsuccessful bidder/proposer feels that the agency’s decision is contrary to the specifications or the law.

Bid protests can include challenges to the specifications of an ITB, RFP or RFQ, and to the agency’s ultimate award decision. The Administrative Procedures Act sets forth special procedures for bid protests that impose extremely short time frames for filing a bid protest and holding an administrative hearing on that bid protest. The Administrative Procedures Act also contains a special provision requiring an agency to discuss the potential for settlement before the case is sent to hearing. This unique settlement process can help a disappointed bidder convince the agency that it erred, and change the outcome without the cost of litigation.

Bid protest issues can involve agency rejection of a bid as non-responsive, failure to reject a non-responsive bid, or rejection of all bids. Where contracts are awarded based on evaluation, bid protest issues can also include errors in scoring. The difference between a “material deviation” from bidding requirements and a “minor irregularity” can be crucial in determining the outcome. Because all of these issues are highly technical, and the time-frames for action are so short, it is essential that companies involved in bid protests employ highly-experienced counsel to carefully review the facts and advise of the best strategy for pursuing or defending a bid protest. This is particularly important when it comes to negotiations, as the ability to quickly focus on key technical points can be crucial in convincing an agency to agree with your company’s position, and to assess your company’s potential for success if no settlement occurs.

Williams Law Group, P.A. have attorneys who have substantial experience in all types of bid protests, from ITB’s, RFP’s and RFQ’s to the more unusual methods of competitive procurement. Williams Law Group, P.A. are government-trained and have a unique appreciation of agencies prospective procurement issues, and what issues are key to successful pursuit or defense of bid protests.


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