June 12, 2012

Jenner & Block’s Government Contracts Practice recently achieved a significant win on behalf of the Firm’s client L-1 Identity Solutions, the national leader in the manufacture of secure identification cards.  On June 4, 2012, the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals ruled that the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration (“MVA”) acted unreasonably in recommending that a $10 million-plus contract to make drivers’ licenses and identification cards be transferred from L-1 to a competitor.

A team consisting of Partner Kevin P. Mullen and Associates James C. Cox and Damien C.Specht, with assistance from Partner Jessica Ring Amunson, navigated the state’s requirements to exhaust administrative remedies to challenge the MVA recommendation and then filed an appeal with the three-member Board.  The Board historically has denied more than 90 percent of the appeals it hears, often without a hearing.

The Jenner & Block team, however, persuaded the Board that the MVA had understated L-1’s state-of-the-art security features, ignored the value of L-1’s experience making drivers’ licenses for 44 states nationwide, and given inadequate weight to the fact that L-1’s proposal would save the state millions of dollars relative to its competitor’s proposal.  The Board’s 38-page opinion, issued after a four-day hearing and extensive briefing, concluded that the MVA violated state law by improperly ignoring or understating numerous critical benefits that L-1 offered and directed the agency to make a new recommendation.  The Board relied heavily on Mr. Cox’s two-day cross-examination of the MVA’s lead procurement official and on the testimony of L-1’s card design and security expert, taken by Mr. Mullen.

This is the latest in a series of wins the Government Contracts Practice has accomplished in state bid protests and contract disputes regarding state government contracts.

Please click here for full opinion of the Board of Contract Appeals.