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2 min read

Analyzing ASTC's Size Appeal Against ETA in ASMPP Case


In a recent case, Allegheny Science & Technology Corporation (ASTC) filed a size appeal against Energy Technology Alliance LLC (ETA) for alleged non-compliance with the All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) requirements. The case revolved around a Request for Quotations (RFQ) issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for scientific, engineering, and technical support services. Unfortunately for ASTC, their appeal was dismissed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Government Contracting — Area VI due to untimeliness. This blog post examines the key arguments presented by both parties and explains the reasoning behind the dismissal decision as part of our series about Size Protests.

Background and Case Proceedings

The RFQ in question was set aside for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and did not explicitly require offerors to certify or re-certify their size. Despite this, the Contracting Officer (CO) awarded the Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) to ETA. Dissatisfied with the decision, ASTC filed a protest challenging ETA's size, claiming non-compliance with ASMPP requirements. The Area Office, however, dismissed the protest as untimely.

ASTC's Appeal Arguments

ASTC subsequently filed an appeal, asserting that the Area Office committed an error in dismissing their protest as untimely. ASTC argued that the RFQ implicitly required offerors to recertify their size, thereby making their protest timely. They pointed to certain provisions in the RFQ to support their position. ETA countered, emphasizing that the RFQ did not mandate recertification and that the protest was correctly dismissed.

ETA's Defense

ETA contended that ASTC's size protest was untimely, citing relevant SBA regulations. They highlighted three specific deadlines for filing a size protest and argued that ASTC missed these deadlines. ETA also refuted ASTC's claim regarding the RFQ's recertification requirement, deeming it immaterial to the case. Furthermore, ETA maintained that the cited cases by ASTC were distinguishable. Finally, ETA suggested that the Appellant's protest lacked specificity, which could have led to dismissal.

Evaluation and Conclusion

The evaluation of the appeal involved examining the Appellant's contentions regarding ETA's Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) and alleged violations of SBA regulations. The standard of review placed the burden of proof on ASTC. Ultimately, the appeal was denied due to its untimeliness.

Key Takeaways

1. ASTC filed a size appeal against ETA regarding a DOE RFQ for scientific, engineering, and technical support services.
2. The protest was dismissed as untimely by the Area Office, prompting ASTC's subsequent appeal.
3. ASTC argued that the RFQ required offerors to recertify their size, thereby justifying their timely protest.
4. ETA contended that the protest missed the necessary deadlines and that the RFQ did not mandate recertification.
5. The appeal was ultimately denied, with the decision supported by relevant cases and the burden of proof placed on ASTC.

While the outcome of this case may be disappointing for ASTC, it highlights the importance of understanding the timeliness requirements when filing size protests. Clear guidelines and adherence to established deadlines play vital roles in the legal proceedings of SBA size appeals.