Widnall v. B3H Corporation

75 F.3d 1577 (1996)

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Widnall v. B3H Corporation

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
75 F.3d 1577 (1996)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

The United States Air Force (government) (plaintiff) solicited proposals for a contract to provide technical support for an air force base. The solicitation stated that the contract would be awarded to the best-value proposal; the best value would be determined based on technical, managerial, and price factors, in descending order of importance. The solicitation noted that the government would not necessarily award the contract to the lowest-price proposal. Logistics Techniques, Inc. (LOGTEC) and B3H Corporation (defendant) both submitted responsive proposals. The government’s Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB) evaluated LOGTEC’s and B3H’s overall proposals and determined that B3H’s proposal was the lowest-price proposal but that LOGTEC’s proposal was rated higher on both technical and managerial factors. The SSEB then conducted a price/technical tradeoff analysis on both proposals. The SSEB’s tradeoff analysis was based on seven quantifiable and nonquantifiable discriminators, including the risk that the contractor would require additional funds to complete the contract work and each contractor’s relevant past experience with Air Force software, hardware maintenance, data management, and hardware sizing. Based on the price/technical tradeoff analysis, the SSEB determined that LOGTEC’s greater relevant experience, better management, better product, and lower risk of contract-cost overruns justified the higher proposal price and that LOGTEC’s proposal represented the best value to the government. The government awarded LOGTEC the contract. B3H filed a best-value protest with the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals (the Board). The Board granted B3H’s best-value protest, holding that the government failed to adequately justify selecting LOGTEC’s higher-cost proposal. The government appealed to the Federal Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clevenger, J.)

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