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What Is A Bid Protest?

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When a government agency wants to build a new building or project, they must solicit public bids. This is designed to ensure that favoritism does not enter into the selection process.  However, at times, there are mistakes made or irregularities in the process. When this occurs, a bid protest may be filed by one or more companies.

However, not just everyone can file a bid protest – the company or actor must be able to show they have been negatively impacted by the loss of the contract (or other improper action in the process). This is important because sometimes one might think they have standing to file, when in reality, they do not – for example, if someone is ranked fourth or fifth during the bid process, it would not matter if there was a minor error in scoring, because unless the first three bidders were all disqualified, they would still not receive the contract.

One of the most important things to remember about bid protests is that time is a factor – while time limits for different jurisdictions may vary, typically a party only has 48 or 72 hours after a bid opening in which to file a notice of intent to protest the award.  A similarly short time frame typically also exists for challenging the bid specifications themselves; this is an entirely separate deadline from protesting the award itself. Once the intent letter is filed, a person has another short period of time to file the actual written protest.  

The relevant agency, once receiving a formal written protest, must stop the contract’s being awarded until the protest or protests have been acted upon as called for under the procurement procedures.

The most important thing to understand up front regarding bid protests is that there are usually very narrow time frames to work with.  It is critical to identify those deadlines immediately, or risk forfeiting the chance to pursue a potentially successful protest.

Contact An Experienced Attorney 

The bid process on government contracts must be fair and above-board, lest accusations of corruption endanger the whole process. If you fear this has not been the case, contacting a Florida construction law attorney may help you to navigate through the protest process. The Jupiter firm of Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. has experience in these cases, and one of our attorneys will be happy to sit down and discuss yours with you. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.

Resources:

flrules.org/gateway/ChapterHome.asp?Chapter=28-110

leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0100-0199/0120/Sections/0120.57.html

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