Stg International, Inc. v. United States

In the United States Court of Federal Claims Nos. 23-47C; 23-175C (Filed: May 17, 2023) (Re-filed: May 24, 2023) 1 ************************** STG INTERNATIONAL, INC., Plaintiff, v. THE UNITED STATES Bid protest; pre-award bid Defendant. protest; phased procurement; legal offer; FAR 52.204-7; ************************** SAM registration; price NORTH EAST SOUTH WEST analysis; past performance; HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS, LLC, discussions; injunction. Plaintiff, v. THE UNITED STATES, Defendant. ************************** Craig A. Holman, Washington, DC, for plaintiff, STG International, with whom was Thomas A. Pettit, of counsel. Aron C. Beezley, Washington, DC, for consolidated plaintiff, North East South West Healthcare Solutions, with whom were Gabrielle A. Sprio and Ariella Cassell, of counsel. 1 This opinion was originally issued under seal. We have redacted information to protect proprietary information and the competitive process. Vincent D. Phillips, Senior Trial Counsel, United States Department of Justice, Commercial Litigation Branch, with whom were Brian M. Boynton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Patricia M. McCarthy, Director, and Reginald T. Blades, Jr., Assistant Director, for defendant. Augustus Golden, United States Department of Justice, and Diane Foose, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, of counsel. OPINION This is a consolidated pre-award bid protest of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) decision to exclude two contractors from a competitive range. The matter is fully briefed, and oral argument was held on May 9, 2023. For the reasons below, we sustain only NESW’s protest. BACKGROUND I. Solicitation and Evaluation Scheme The United States provides healthcare services to illegal immigrants held in ICE facilities. As part of that effort, ICE issued the current solicitation to provide medical staffing in various ICE facilities, under which it anticipated awarding five to seven indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts on a best-value basis. The proposal submission and agency evaluation process proceeded in two phases. In Phase I, contractors submitted the first half of their proposal, which addressed the solicitation’s three most important factors: (1) corporate experience, (2) scenario, and (3) capability. For the first two factors, the agency conducted oral presentations where bidders first discussed a previously completed “Corporate Experience Questionnaire.” AR 5371. Then, after discussing corporate experience, the agency described a hypothetical scenario in which the bidder experiences critically low staffing at difficult to fill locations and asked the bidder to provide a corrective action plan. For the third Phase I factor, however—which was capability—bidders instead submitted a writing that demonstrated their ability to meet the solicitation’s requirements. At the end of Phase I, the agency issued Advisory Notice Letters. These letters, which were unique to each bidder, contained the agency’s 2 evaluation of the bidder’s Phase I proposal and the agency’s recommendation as to whether the bidder should proceed to Phase II. While a recommendation not to proceed did not eliminate a bidder from the competition, it did mean that the bidder was “unlikely to be a viable competitor[].” AR 5381–82. Phase II required contractors to submit the second half of their proposal, which addressed three additional factors (listed in descending order of importance): (1) plans, …

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