"First Impression" Ruling: Court May Review the Rationality of Emails Sent By GAO Attorneys

In Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. v. United States, No. 11-280C (Fed. Cl. August 25, 2011), the Court of Federal Claims addressed an “issue of first impression” – whether the court can review an email message from a Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) attorney in the same way that it reviews a formal GAO decision. In this instance, the court determined that the answer was “Yes.”

The United States Army Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Management Command Contracting Center awarded a contract to Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. (“SA-TECH”) for aerial target flight operations and maintenance services on February 1, 2011. This award was protested by an unsuccessful offeror. Following several rounds of filings, the GAO hearing officer assigned to the protest sent an email to the parties indicating that GAO likely would sustain the protest and recommend that the Agency take corrective action. Two days later, the Agency notified GAO that it intended to take corrective action. SATECH, the awardee, protested the Agency’s proposed corrective action at the Court of Federal Claims.

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