In Office Depot, Inc. v. U.S., decided by the Court of Federal Claims on August 24, 2010, Office Depot challenged the FDIC’s award of a large national office supplies contract to Staples. One of the threshold questions was whether the Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction to hear bid protests for FDIC procurements. (The jurisdictional statute refers to procurements by “federal agencies.”)

FDIC procurements are not subject to the Federal Acquisition Regulations; they are covered by procedures found in a FDIC acquisition policy manual. The Court found that such a bid protest is indeed within the COFC’s bid protest jurisdiction, and that the FDIC, like the USPS, is a corporation in which the United States has a proprietary interest, qualifying it as a federal agency for purposes of the jurisdictional statute.

Turning to the merits, the COFC considered Office Depot’s challenges to the evaluation of its proposal, and denied the post-award bid protest. Office Depot failed to demonstrate that the award was arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise contrary to law. Office Depot was the lowest priced proposal but did not receive the highest scores. Office Depot’s objection to the failure to evaluate past performance was untimely, since it should have been brought prior to the date for receipt of proposals.

For questions about your government contract pre-award or post-award bid protest, contact Karen S HindsonĀ of Hindon & Melton LLCĀ at 770-939-3936 or 843-720-3722.