CIO-SP4 lawsuits consolidated as case moves forward

Any other company wishing to challenge how the National Institutes of Health's acquisition arm is running the competition will be added to this proceeding.

The number of lawsuits challenging the CIO-SP4 contract vehicle at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has grown to 12 and the judge has consolidated them into a single case.

That means the 12 protesters will move through the case together and be heard by a single judge. Any others that decide to go to court will be added to this case.

All of the cases are being rolled under Futron’s lawsuit, the first company to challenge moves by the National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition and Assessment Center. NITAAC runs the CIO-SP4 contract, a $50 billion government-wide acquisition vehicle for IT solutions and services.

CIO-SP4 has a long history of protest troubles, with hundreds of protests filed at the Government Accountability Office in 2022 and 2023. Many of those protests involved how NITAAC used a self-scoring mechanism. Many argued that the threshold they had to clear to move on in the competition was arbitrarily set.

The court filings are still sealed, so it is unclear whether the self-scoring mechanism is still at the heart of the protests or if another issue is being raised. Attempts to get comments from attorneys representing the 12 protesters has been unsuccessful.

Of the twelve protesters, only Astor & Sanders and DevTech Systems also filed protests at GAO last year challenging NITAAC’s self-scoring methodology.

GAO sided with 64 companies that filed protests and told NITAAC to redo the methodology. Among GAO’s findings was that NITAAC’s responses to companies was lacking and didn’t show that reasonably validated self-scores and didn’t reasonably establish the threshold for moving from phase one of the competition.

GAO told NITAAC to validate all self-scores against the terms of the solicitation and required new evaluations. NITAAC also had to make a new threshold analysis for each socio-economic category.

The agency then had to make a new decision on who passed phase one.

GAO made that decision in June of last year. In January, NITAAC started finalizing awards, but then a new crop of protests began emerging at GAO. Some of those were dismissed as premature and the companies began turning to the court in February.

Right now, there have only been process-type actions at the court. Judge Thomas Dietz signed the order last week consolidating the cases. No hearings are set yet.

The 12 protesters are:

  • Analytica
  • Astor & Sanders
  • A Square Group
  • DevTech Systems
  • Futron
  • HagerV3
  • Inalab Consulting
  • Mission 1st Group
  • Objective Function Systems
  • Optimal Solutions
  • RCHP