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The protester argued that considering the superlatives used to describe its proposal, it should have received an exceptional rating under the technical factor. GAO was not persuaded. An outstanding rating required an exceptional approach. The agency may have used superlatives, but it never described the protester’s approach as exceptional.

Inalab Consulting, Inc., GAO B-422438 et al.
  • Adjectival Rating – The agency assigned the protester a good rating under the technical factor. The protester argued it should have received an outstanding rating. The protester reasoned it had multiple strengths and the agency had used superlatives in describing the protester’s proposal. GAO was unconvinced. The evaluation was consistent with a good rating. At no point had the agency described the protester’s approach as exceptional. Nothing in the solicitation required an exceptional rating just because a proposal received multiple strengths.
  • Weaknesses – The protester objected to two weaknesses assessed to its technical proposal. GAO rejected the arguments. GAO found one of the weaknesses was justified because it did not appear the protester understood the requirements. GAO then found the protester had not been prejudiced by the second weakness. Even if this weakness had been removed, the protester’s ratings would not have changed, and it would not have received the award.
  • Awardee’s Proposal – The protester claimed the awardee had not addressed elements required by the solicitation. GAO found the awardee had either addressed the elements or that the supposed elements were not actually required.

The protester is represented by Jon D. Levin of Maynard Nexsen, PC. The awardee is represented by Isaias Alba, IV, Katherine B. Burrows, Samuel S. Finnerty, Daniel Figuenick, III, and Kelly A., Kirchgasser of Piliero Mazza PLLC. The agency is represented by Jonathan A. Hardage of the Army. GAO attorneys Michelle Litteken and Christina Sklarew participated in the decision.

–Case summary by Craig LaChance, Editor in Chief