GAO Invokes Rare Exception To Protest Timeliness Rule


The Government Accountability Office’s recent decision in Eastern Forestry, B-411848 (Nov. 9, 2015), highlights the GAO’s rarely invoked “limited time period” exception to the general rule that protests that challenge patent solicitation improprieties must be filed prior to bid opening or the time set for receipt of proposals. Under the “limited time period” exception, the GAO has the discretion to allow a protester to challenge a patent solicitation impropriety within 10 days from the time the protester knew (or should have known) of the alleged impropriety when, as a result of extremely limited time periods, circumstances do not permit the protester to challenge the terms of the solicitation prior to bid opening or the proposal submission deadline. This article examines the GAO’s decision in the Eastern Forestry case. Additionally, this article takes the opportunity to examine the parameters of the “limited time period” exception generally.