Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Business Enterprise Program v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Newport News Division

January 22, 2019

GEORGIA VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AGENCY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM et al, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          HENRY COKE MORGAN, JR. SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Complaint for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction. Doc. 1. On December 11, 2018, this Court GRANTED Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and ORDERED the parties to appear on December 14, 2018 for a hearing regarding whether the Court should grant Plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. For the reasons stated below, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction under the following terms:

         1. Defendant, the United States of America, is ENJOINED from proceeding with the procurement of and specifically from making any award of the subject Fort Benning Food Service Contract until a decision in arbitration under the Randolph-Sheppard Act has been rendered or upon further order of this Court.

         2. The Court's preliminary injunction is conditioned upon Plaintiffs posting a $100, 000 cash or surety bond effective for the duration of the injunction.

         3. The Court's preliminary injunction is further conditioned upon GA-SLA and Mr. Lee's company continuing to provide food services to Fort Benning under the same terms provided in the 2016 contract during the duration of the injunction should the appropriate Ft. Benning contracting officer provide the opportunity to do so.

         4. Although the Court granted Scott-Grace's motion to intervene, it imposes no obligation upon it in this order. Plaintiffs attempted to call into question Scott-Grace's eligibility to qualify as a veteran owned small business, but there is insufficient evidence before this Court for it to consider this issue.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         This dispute arises under the Randolph-Sheppard Act ("RSA"), which requires federal entities to provide priority for blind persons licensed by state agencies to operate vending facilities on federal property. 20 U.S.C. § 107; 34 C.F.R. § 395.33(a). Plaintiff, Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Business Enterprise Program ("GA-SLA") is the authorized State Licensing Agency for the state of Georgia, and Plaintiff. Michael Lee ("Mr. Lee") is a "blind person" under the RSA[1]. Plaintiffs have been performing the food services contract at the military base in Fort Benning, GA ("Fort Benning") for the past fifteen (15) years. In 2016, Plaintiffs were awarded a thirty-five-month contract to perform food service operations at Fort Benning, consisting of an eleven-month base period followed by two one-year option periods ("The 2016 Contract"). The Government exercised its first option to renew, but declined to exercise its second option to renew, citing cost as a factor. In 2018, the Government issued a new solicitation (the "Solicitation") for bids to award a five-year contract for the operation of food services at Fort Benning, with a program ceiling of SI90 million to be paid over the five-year period. The Solicitation was set aside for Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, with the exception that priority would be given to eligible blind vendors under the RSA. Plaintiffs submitted a proposal for the Solicitation, along with Scott-Grace ("Intervenor Defendant'') and XXXXX other vendors.

         The Government intended to award the contract using the Lowest Priced Technically Acceptable ("LPTA") process, which evaluates: (1) Technical Capability (Subfactor 1, Key Personnel and Qualifications; Subfactor 2, Staffing Plan); (2) Past Performance; and (3) Price. The Solicitation was for an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity ("ID/IQ") contract, under which contractors are paid an amount for serving a set range of individuals at each vending facility.[2] As part of the "technical" requirements of the Solicitation, each bid was supposed to contain a staffing plan that accounted for serving each range (also referred to as a "band") at each building included in the Solicitation. Particularly, the Solicitation provided that each bidder "shall identify the burdened labor rates for each of [the] labor categories" for headcount bands in Building 2943.

         The Solicitation was also a no discussion solicitation. Accordingly, no discussions with bidders were to take place during the bid process, unless the contracting officer first established a competitive range of bidders or another exception applied.

         After evaluating each bid proposal using the LPTA factors, the Government approved of a competitive "range"[3] of bidders. The competitive range of bidders excluded all bidders except for Scott-Grace. Scott-Grace's bid was the only bid that the Government deemed acceptable based on technical capability, past performance, and reasonable price, GA-SLA and another bidder were deemed acceptable based on technical capability and past performance; however, both of their proposed contract prices were deemed "unreasonable." During the evaluation process, the Contract Management Office indicated that GA-SLA and others had submitted fully burdened labor rates, white Scott-Grace alone did not.[4] Scott-Grace's proposal was the only proposal submitted with its original proposed contract price lower than the program ceiling of XXXXX.

         On August 17, 2018, the Contracting Officer notified Plaintiffs via letter that their bid was not considered to be within the competitive range.

         B. Procedural History

         Plaintiffs filed their complaint for Temporary Restraining Order and Injunctive Relief on November 26, 2018. Doc. 1. On November 27, 2018, Plaintiffs filed their Motion for Temporary Restraining Order. Doc. 2. On December 11, 2018, this Court entered an Order GRANTING Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and ordering the parties to appear on December 14, 2018 for a hearing on Plaintiffs' complaint for preliminary injunction. On December 14, 2018, this Court held a hearing on Plaintiffs' complaint for preliminary injunction and continued the temporary restraining order until December 17, 2018 for further briefing and closing arguments. Doc. 34. On December 17, 2018, the Court considered the further briefing and heard closing arguments regarding Plaintiffs' complaint for preliminary injunction.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Under Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court may issue a preliminary injunction after notice has been provided to an adverse party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 65. A preliminary injunction is an "'extraordinary remed[y] involving the exercise of a very far-reaching power to be granted only sparingly and in limited circumstances." Sarsour v. Trump, 245 F.Supp.3d 719, 728(E.D. Va. 2017).

         Accordingly, for the Court to issue a preliminary injunction a party must make a clear showing "that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief, that the balance of equities lips in his favor, and that an injunction is in the public interest." Id. (citing Winter v. Natural Res. Def. Council. Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008)) (internal quotations omitted); see also Pashby v. Delia, 709 F.3d3O7, 320-21 (4th Cir. 2013) (each element of the test must be satisfied). Irreparable harm means harm that is "neither remote nor speculative, but actual and imminent." Direx Israel, Ltd. v. Breakthrough Med. Corp., 952 F.2d 802, 812 (4th Cir. 1991). When evaluating whether to issue an injunction, a court "should pay particular regard for the public consequences in employing the extraordinary remedy of injunction." Winter, 555 U.S. at 24.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. The Randolph-Sheppard Act

         When a state licensing agency disputes a federal entity's compliance with the RSA, the RSA requires that the state licensing agency file a complaint with the Secretary of Education to arbitrate the dispute before a district court can review the merits of the state licensing agency's claims. See 20 U.S.C. § 107d-1; Maryland State Dep't of Educ. v. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 98 F.3d 165, 167 (4th Cir. 1996). Plaintiffs have filed a complaint for arbitration with the Secretary of Education, pursuant to the RSA. Doc. 1 -3. Plaintiffs, however, request that this Court exercise ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.