• Federal Government Partial Shutdown Update
  • October 7, 2013 | Author: Steven L. Reed
  • Law Firm: Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP - Washington Office
  • First and most important, we recommend that parties continue to meet all filing deadlines for all Federal courts, the Boards of Contract Appeal, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).  Certain deadlines are jurisdictional, such as the deadline for filing a contract appeal at the Court of Federal Claims or the Boards of Contract Appeal.  Do not presume that any adjudicative body is completely closed.

    Based on information now becoming available, the proper conservative approach is to timely make all filings or risk dismissal, etc.  This is particularly true with statutory deadlines such as those provided in the Contract Disputes Act.  The same is true concerning bid protest or small business size or status protests regardless of whether anyone is present in the government to receive such filings.

    Federal Courts (including the Court of Federal Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) - as quoted by the Wash. Post, the Admin. Office of U.S. Courts states that federal courts will remain operational for about two weeks using reserve funds; thereafter, staff will be scaled back to essential persons; judges will continue to work - the courts are open.

    Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals - open for now with limited staff; a few judge positions have been declared "essential," subject to Pentagon approval.

    Civilian Board of Contract Appeals - CBCA's website states it is "curtailed" but will remain open for the purpose of accepting filings.  "Any statutory limitations on the time within which a filing may be made will not be waived or tolled . . . ."

    GAO - bid protest office closed, no monitoring of protest filings.

    "Any deadline for a protest filing - such as an agency report or other filing requested by GAO -  may, upon request, be extended . . . . Any new protest received by GAO [during closure] will be treated as filed on the day that GAO resumes operations."

    GAO will continue to receive e-filing (have not disabled servers, etc.) but mail room is closed such that no mail, courier, or hand delivery will be accepted; fax machines have been disabled.

    There is no clear and explicit statement that initial filing deadlines are not required to be observed.

    Small Business Administration - as published in the Wash. Post, all employees of OHA have been furloughed; there is no statement about statutory or other OHA-imposed deadlines.

    SBA Office of Government Contracting and Business Development - four employees not furloughed out of 193 (this office decides certain size or status protests).