Appeals of Contract Awards
- Gaming Technology Contract Appeal – When a national gaming technology company lost in a procurement bid process before the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations for a contract to oversee the Maine State Lottery, they turned to Preti Flaherty's Government Contracting Group to argue the appeal. The client had held this contract for many years, and had recently lost similar contracts in Vermont and New Hampshire to the same competitor, a global gaming technology company. Preti Flaherty's experienced procurement team identified multiple technical and procedural flaws in the scoring process. In response to these arguments in a lengthy administrative hearing process, the state appeals committee overturned the award and the contract was secured for Preti Flaherty's client.
- United States Cellular – When the state of Maine issued an RFP for wireless cellular services and equipment for all of state government, our client, United States Cellular, submitted a bid that combined unparalleled coverage with reasonable prices. Judged against the coverage and price criteria in the request for bids, it should have received the award, but it did not. Our experienced government contract appeals team, working closely with our client, dissected the technical underpinnings of the manner in which the bids had been scored, showing that although coverage had been a key factor according to the request for bids, it was virtually ignored in the final analysis. Preti Flaherty demonstrated that there were serious flaws in the procurement process, persuading an administrative appeals panel to invalidate the award, compelling a rebidding process. A hallmark of our approach to matters of this type is to combine aggressive advocacy on the merits with courtesy and respect for the administrative officials we are challenging, recognizing that the very persons whose judgment we are seeking to overturn will be making the next procurement decision and may be potential customers for years to come. With our strategic assistance, U.S. Cellular successfully won the second round and remains the state's carrier of choice for governmental wireless services and equipment.
- Harper's Development LLC – Harper's Development submitted a proposal for leased office space for the headquarters of the Maine Department of Labor, which was then operating in an outdated and inadequate facility. Its bid was successful as a result of the value and convenience offered by its proposed location. In a highly competitive real estate market, however, the state's selection of Harpers did not go unchallenged. A competitor launched an aggressive appeal, asserting various improprieties in the bidding process and also attacking the selection on its merits, claiming that our client's facility was less desirable and more costly than other options. Because of the size of the project and its price, in the range of 20 million dollars, the award was highly prized and the appeal was pursued with intensity. We worked with our client to respond effectively to both the procedural and substantive arguments, laying out a clear case for the reasonableness and fairness of the state's decision. The lease was sustained by an appeal committee decision validating the award.
- Motorola – For Motorola, Preti Flaherty successfully appealed a $50 million government contract awarded to Tyco for a new state-wide VHF public safety radio system. To prevail, we persuaded an appeals panel that the Office of Information Technology's award of the contract was fundamentally unfair. To succeed, we first had to proceed to Superior Court, when the State denied our access to pricing information – fundamental to the bidding process -- which Tyco wanted to keep confidential. Using our expertise in Maine's Freedom of Access Law, we obtained information that was crucial to enabling us to cross-examine the State's Chief of Information Officer, who admitted after thorough yet courteous questioning that under the structure of the RFP, a bidder could "game the system." Our work positioned our client to compete for the contract a second time, invalidating the award to their competitor without alienating the purchasing agency.
- Lindsay, Goldberg, Bessemer – Preti Flaherty assisted Lindsay, Goldberg & Bessemer (LGB), a New York-based private equity firm, with purchasing a ten-year license to operate the State of Maine's wholesale liquor business – a monopoly that netted the State over $25 million in profits a year. Our Legislative Group worked with state leaders to enact landmark legislation authorizing the State to accept bids on the business. LGB made their offer, but didn't win the contract. Preti Flaherty's team stepped in to help LGB reach its goal, first appealing the award on LGB's behalf and then negotiating a settlement whereby LGB assumed a controlling interest in the winning bidder. Preti's Business Law Group then worked with state officials to finalize the details of this historic public-private partnership. The resulting agreement was a boon for the State of Maine, and for nearly 300 small businesses in Maine that depend on the wholesale liquor trade and now have increased opportunities for sales and profitability.
Advising on Government Contracts
- Unisys – in a politically charged climate arising from the catastrophic underperformance of the prior Medicaid billing and payment system, our team advised Unisys on strategies for preparing its proposal in response to an RFP for a multi-year project to replace that system. When Unisys won the bid, we continued to work with them on their relationships with the State, which in turn was managing the expectations of a wary provider community.
- Schaller Anderson – Combining the experience of our Health Care Group and its solid relationships with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services with our government contracting expertise, we represent Schaller Anderson, the State of Maine's contractor for Medicaid Care Management, by providing representation before the Legislature and facilitation with regulatory agencies.
- Goold Health Systems – Again combining our contracting and health care law knowledge, we work with Goold Health systems on their various governmental relations challenges. We have recently worked with them on efforts to ensure continuity of services by coordinating the new bidding cycle for services now provided by GHS with the schedules for other major DHHS data, care management, and payment contracts.