Although the Government shut down on October 1, 2013, contractors must remain diligent in analyzing their protests, claims, and other litigation matters to ensure key deadlines are not missed. Importantly, while some Government offices are closed, most courts (including the Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Circuit) remain open and the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“ASBCA”) and the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA”) will remain open for receiving filings. The Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) is closed, but has advised that any deadlines falling on a date in which the Office is closed, will be moved to the first day GAO reopens, similar to how a weekend or holiday deadline is treated under the rules. Considering there is no way of knowing exactly when GAO will reopen, contractors must be ready to have their items filed at a moment’s notice. More importantly, to ensure a timely CICA stay notice is sent by GAO, protesters will want to ensure their protests are filed as early as possible. Below are more details for each venue.
Status: GAO, including the bid protest office, is closed during the shutdown. GAO intends to issue its decisions in accordance with its 100 day deadline. However, if necessary, that deadline may be extended one day for each day GAO is closed due to the shutdown.
Deadlines: Any deadline for a private party that falls on a day GAO is closed due to the shutdown is extended to the first day GAO resumes operations and is treated as any deadline that falls on a weekend or Federal holiday. Any deadline for an agency filing may, upon request, be extended up to one day for each day that GAO is closed.
Procedures: Protest-related documents may only be filed at GAO’s e-mail address during the shutdown. Any new protest received during the time that GAO is closed will be treated as filed on the day that GAO resumes operations.
Status: Both Courts remain open. The Federal Circuit has advised that all normal judicial functions will continue through at least October 11, 2013. The Court of Federal Claims has stated it will continue to hear and decide cases without interruption.
Deadlines: The Court of Federal Claims has advised that it “does not expect to issue continuances based on the lapse or anticipated lapse of appropriated funds and will adhere to schedules currently in effect.” The Federal Circuit has not provided specific guidance, but we expect current deadlines to remain in effect as long as the court remains open as usual.
Status: Both will remain open for purposes of receiving filings. However, not all personnel will be considered “essential.”
Deadlines: The CBCA has advised that any statutory limitations on the time within which a filing may be made will not be waived or tolled during the shutdown period. With the exception of statutory deadlines, each CBCA judge has the discretion to modify deadlines established in their cases that occur during of after this period. We anticipate the ASBCA will take a similar stance with respect to deadlines.