Public Procurement: Don’t Forget the Protest Bond
If you are considering a protest concerning a competitive solicitation pursuant to Chapter 120, Florida Statutes (the "Administrative Procedure Act"), a protest bond may be required. The bond may be due at the time of the formal protest, or even at the time of the notice of protest. It is critical that the protesting party confirm whether a protest bond is required by the particular agency’s statutes and rules, and if so, the amount of the bond and when it is due. Protest bonds generally provide a guaranty that the protestor will pay any costs or attorney’s fees that may be imposed against the protesting party.
The Florida Administrative Code also provides a form Protest Bond. As set forth therein, the Bond guarantees payment of all “costs and charges allowed” through both administrative and appellate court proceedings. Failure to provide the Protest Bond may result in a dismissal of the protest and a waiver of rights pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act. Accordingly, it is very important to secure and submit the Protest Bond in the correct amount, form and by the particular deadline.
The Protest Bond is yet another example of the why the world of public procurement is all about dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s, and doing so within the strict deadlines required by law. Bid protests should be fully evaluated on a case by case basis, and it is important to involve legal counsel as early in the process as possible to avoid a waiver of rights and so that counsel has sufficient time to properly handle or intervene in the matter.