WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) – On Oct. 31, the Court of Federal Claims (COFC) denied DynCorp International's motion for judgment and its amended motion in a case over a $10 billion government contract.
DynCorp alleged AAR Airlift Group misused stolen trade secrets to win the bid it had held for more than two decades. According to the court's opinion and order, AAR won the U.S. Department of State contract to support the work of the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Office of Aviation, beating out DynCorp in 2016.
Justice Robert H. Hodges Jr. said in the opinion reissued Nov. 16, “the agency award decision was entirely reasonable and rational.”
“As the COFC decision references, despite DynCorp’s allegations, the Dept. of State Contracting Officer found that AAR Airlift did not use information about DynCorp in its bid and, therefore, did not have any competitive advantage in the procurement process. AAR was affirmed as a responsible contractor and won the WASS award on the merits of its bid after a lengthy evaluation process,” AAR Airlift Chairman Don Wetekam said in a statement provided to Legal Newsline.
As Legal Newsline previously reported, the Worldwide Aviation Support Services (WASS) put out a proposal for the contract DynCorp had held since 1992, and both DynCorp and AAR submitted bids. In September 2016 after reviewing the bids, the state awarded the contract to AAR.
The Department of State said that DynCorp’s bid was unacceptable, the opinion states, and not in line with requirements and found AAR’s bid superior.
In attempt to save the $10 billion job, DynCorp filed a protest with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), claiming AAR stole information, and that the contract officer was incorrect in their assessment of DynCorp’s proposal, citing technical points the officer missed.
On Oct. 31, COFC affirmed that the contracting officer’s decision was reasonable.
Hodges said, “We do not reweigh the evidence, but grant to the CO wide deference unless plaintiff can demonstrate that the decision lacked a rational basis… the contracting officer has provided supporting rationale for his decision.”
AAR is also facing another lawsuit in Florida from DynCorp alleging that the AAR lured employees and stole trade secret information. In January 2016, the Middle District of Florida dismissed the suit, reasoning that DynCorp had not provided enough evidence to prove AAR misappropriated trade secrets, and that its remaining allegations were extremely vague. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision in November 2016 to allow DynCorp to plead their claims in district court. The district court granted AAR’s motion to stay the legal proceedings until the COFC ruled on the contract awarded to AAR.
Plaintiffs were represented by David M. Nadler of Blank Rome LLP (DC). Douglas G. Edelschick was counsel for the United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Washington, D.C, for defendant. Joel Singer of Sidley Austin, LLP, represented the defendant-intervenor.
United States Court of Federal Claims case number 16-1704 C.