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A successful protester requested attorneys’ fees at a rate that exceeded the $150 statutory limit. GAO granted the request, noting the protester had appropriately demonstrated an increase in the cost of living.

Spectrum Healthcare Resources, Inc.—Costs, GAO B-421325.2
  • Request for Reimbursement – The protester prevailed in a protest and requested reimbursement of protest costs. Under the Competition in Contracting Act a successful protester is entitled to recover attorneys’ fees, but those fees are limited to $150 per hour. The protester requested higher fees based on increases in the costs of living.
  • Increased Rate Was Reasonable – GAP approved the request. An upward adjustment of the $150 limit is warranted where the protester shows the cost of living has increased based on the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index. The protester had made that showing. What’s more, the agency didn’t object. GAO allowed the protester to recover fees at about $290 per hour.

The protester is represented by Amy Laderberg O’Sullivan, James G. Peyster, and David H. Favre, III of Crowell & Moring LLP. The agency is represented by Patrick J. Madigan, Ekta Patel, and Matthew Lane of the Department of Homeland Security. GAO attorneys Heather Self and Peter H. Tran participated in the decision.

–Case summary by Craig LaChance, Senior Editor