Carothers Construction Inc. v. United States
United States Claims Court
18 Cl. Ct. 745 (1989)
The federal government (defendant), through the Department of the Navy (Navy), solicited sealed bids for a construction contract at a naval air station in Tennessee. The bid opening, which was also the final bid submission deadline, was set for 2:00 p.m. on June 1, 1989. Carothers Construction Inc. (Carothers) (plaintiff) and Barron Construction Company (Barron) both submitted bids. The bid opening was conducted in a room at the naval air base by the bid opening officer, Dolores Quinton. Barron’s representative, Allen Townsend, made a final, handwritten amendment to Barron’s bid minutes before the bid submission deadline closed and did not physically hand Barron’s bid to Quinton until Quinton was in the middle of verbally announcing that the bidding submission window had closed. Quinton made her announcement at exactly 2:00 p.m., as determined by the clock in the bidding room. Barron submitted the lowest-price bid and would receive the contract as long as its bid was deemed responsive. After the bid opening, Carothers filed a pre-award protest with the government’s General Accounting Office (GAO), alleging that (1) Barron’s bid was untimely because Townsend did not finish submitting Barron’s bid paperwork until after Quinton finished making the bid-closing announcement; and (2) because Barron’s bid was untimely, it was unresponsive and must be rejected. Relying on testimony from Quinton and other officials in the bidding room, the GAO found that Barron’s submission was timely. Based on the GAO’s finding, the Navy planned to award the contract to Barron. Carothers then filed a petition in the United States Claims Court seeking an injunction preventing the Navy from granting the contract to Barron. Because Carothers’ petition was filed before the Navy formally awarded the contract to Barron, it was considered a pre-award contract dispute.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Futey, J.)
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