For many Florida businesses, a large proportion of their income is based on state and federal contracts. When government agencies grant a contract, they are expected to do so based on price and an evenhanded evaluation.
If, however, the bid is denied and the business does not think the decision was made fairly and based on the law, it has the right to protest that decision.
In these cases, it is imperative to be aware of the standard of review an administrative law judge will use and why the bid process might have been a violation of the law.
When might businesses succeed with a bid protest?
During a review, there are four fundamental reasons why the rejection of the bid could be called into question.
First, it could be viewed as clearly erroneous. The agency that rejected the bid could have simply made a mistake. The court will look at the circumstances and decide if there was a clear error made. Perhaps there was a wrong calculation as to which company gave a better bid. The evidence of how the decision was made is key.
Next, the decision could be contrary to competition. Perhaps a bid was made by a company that had some form of connection to those making the choice as to which bid was accepted. The appearance of favoritism, absence of public confidence that the bids were awarded based on fact, an unfair way in which the decision was made or it was done unethically, illegally, fraudulently or dishonestly could all warrant a successful protest.
There could be material vs. nonmaterial irregularities. The bidder who makes the lowest bid should get the contract if they can complete the work.
In the past, the decision was generally final unless fraud, illegal behavior, dishonesty or the choice was made arbitrarily. An arbitrary or capricious decision is made not based on the facts, but based on questionable reasons.
When a business thinks that this was the justification for another entity being given the contract, it might be able to protest the bid successfully. The agency making the choice must have used good faith consideration to make its decision and used reason instead of a random excuse.
Experienced help with business law
In these cases, it is imperative to know the law and why a bid might be overturned and either reopened or be decided in the complaining company’s favor. It is essential to have help that understands business and commercial law with these complex situations to try and reach a positive result.