A lesson for government contractors: A lapse in your SAM registration could cost your company a contract
The Court of Federal Claims’ recent decision in Myriddian, LLC v. United States, COFC No. 23-443, provides an important lesson for government contractors – be sure that your registration in the System for Award Management (SAM) does not lapse.
In Myriddian, a disappointed bidder alleged that the awardee was ineligible for award because, although the awardee’s SAM registration was active at the time of proposal submission and award, it lapsed for 17 days while the agency was evaluating proposals. Thus, the protester argued, the awardee violated Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.204-7 which provides that “[a]n Offeror is required to be registered in SAM when submitting an offer or quotation, and shall continue to be registered until time of award, during performance, and through final payment of any contract . . . resulting from this solicitation.”
The agency did not dispute that the SAM registration had lapsed, but nevertheless maintained that it did not render the awardee ineligible.
The court sustained the protest. It determined that the plain language of FAR 52.204-7 mandates that a contractor’s SAM registration “shall continue” throughout the procurement. As such, the court explained: “It follows that an offeror's SAM registration may not have an interruption or lapse” and “[i]t would be nonsensical to carve out an exception for FAR 52.204-7’s continuity requirement.”
This decision follows another recent Court of Federal Claims’ decision in which, based upon the plain language of FAR 52.204-7, the court affirmed the agency’s decision to eliminate a joint venture from the competition because the joint venture was not registered in SAM at the time of proposal submission and the registration requirement could not be satisfied by individual SAM registrations of the joint venture members.
These decisions highlight the importance of maintaining an active, accurate, and complete SAM registration. To do so, it is prudent to make reviewing a company’s SAM registration a routine practice at regular intervals throughout the year, not just during period of change such as after a merger or acquisition.
Contractors should also allow sufficient time to complete a SAM registration or renewal because issues can arise that may delay the process such as technical glitches in the SAM system, processing delays, or government delays in name change approvals. As Myriddian teaches, starting the process early may be the difference in being awarded a contract.
Finally, these cases illustrate the benefit of checking the SAM registration status of your competitors – especially if you are not selected for award.
For more information, please contact either of the authors.
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