A federal judge has issued a ruling in a lawsuit that sought to halt the Army Corps of Engineers' rebid of a disputed flood control project contract in New Orleans, according to involved parties who have seen the still unreleased decision.
Parties on both sides appear to be claiming victory. One source who declined to be identified called the decision and its interpretations "very unusual."
The U.S. Court of Claims says Judge Victor Wolski 's May 11 ruling will not be released until later in the month when a redacted version of the opinion is complete.
At issue and unclear, according to parties who spoke to ENR, is how the ruling affects the original April 2011 contract award to the CBY joint venture and the effect, as well, on the contract reprocurement that had begun last fall after two losing bidders successfully protested the estimated $675-million CBY award to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
The losing bidders had challenged various aspects of the winning proposal and certain provisions in bid documents, protests that GAO upheld last August. The Corps had then revised bid documents and asked the five original proposing teams to resubmit proposals.
CBY filed its suit last November challenging the reprocurement. The joint venture includes firms CDM, Brasfield & Gorrie and Yates Construction.
“CBY Design Builders is pleased that a decision has been handed down by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which is based on a brief summary of the sealed decision that was publicly disclosed to the parties in the case,” according to a May 17 statement by the joint venture. “The decision supports the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ permanent canal closures and pump (PCCP) stations procurement decisions and exonerates the Corps and its original award determination on all but one item associated with evaluation of a portion of the technical approach proposals.”
Neil O'Donnell, attorney for one of the losing bidders, the PCCP joint venture, told ENR on May 15 that "we are obviously pleased" about the May 11 ruling by Judge Victor Wolski. Led by Kiewit Corp., PCCP also includes contractors Traylor Bros. and M.R. Pittman Group. He did not elaborate.
Adds Bob Kula, a Kiewit vice president: "We’re pleased with the judge’s decision, which is consistent with what we asked for. Kiewit looks forward to the Corps of Engineers restarting the procurement process for this important project."
A Corps spokesman in New Orleans also did not comment on the ruling, on the status of the award to CBY or on the contract reprocurement. "The Corps will consult with the attorneys at the Dept. of Justice this week and determine the appropriate course of action," he told ENR.
Bechtel Infrastructure Corp., another original losing bidder that successfully protested, did not comment on the ruling but a spokeswoman says the firm remains "interested" in pursuing the project contract.
One federal official close to the dispute termed the 56-page ruling “convoluted.”