Word to the Wise: If You Wait 79 Days to File an Agency Protest, It Will Be a Smidge Too Late

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The protester filed an agency protest challenging its exclusion from the competition. The agency denied the protest as untimely; it had been filed 79 days after the protester had been notified of the exclusion decision. The protester then filed a GAO protest, which GAO dismissed. If the agency protest was untimely, any subsequent protest at GAO was also untimely.

Alamo Strategic Manufacturing, Inc. GAO B-420716

Background

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) issued a solicitation seeking knee and elbow pads. The solicitation provided that proposals had to include product demonstration models—that is, examples of the knee and elbow pads that were proposed.

Alamo Strategic Manufacturing submitted a written proposal by the proposal deadline, but its demonstration models did not reach the agency until after the deadline. On January 2, 2022, DLA informed Alamo that its proposal was late and had not been considered. Over two months later, on March 25, Alamo filed an agency protest, challenging the determination that its proposal was late. DLA denied the protest as untimely. Alamo then filed a protest with GAO.

Analysis

A matter initially protested to an agency will only be considered timely by GAO if the agency protest was filed within the time prescribed by GAO’s regulations. Those regulations state that a protest challenging exclusion from the competition must be filed within 10 days of when the protester knew it was excluded.

Here, Alamo learned it was excluded on January 5. It didn’t file an agency protest until 79 days later. The agency protest was untimely. As a result, the GAO protest was untimely.

Alam is represented by Rene H. Sosa. The agency is represented by Allison Colsey Eck of the Defense Logistics Agency. GAO attorneys Heather Weiner and Jennifer D. Westfall-McGrail participated in the preparation of the decision.

GAO - Alamo Strategic Manufacturing