Guam Supreme Court Reverses Trial Court Decision in “Data Management v. OPA”

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Guam – The Guam Supreme Court has reversed the trial court’s decision in “Data Management v. OPA.”

The trial court had  reversed and  rescinded the administrative decision made by the Office of Public Accountability [OPA] to deny the protest waged by Data Management Resources [DMR]  and ordered the Guam Department of Education [Guam DOE] to immediately proceed with its award to qualified responsive bidders.

But the Guam Supreme Court found that the trial court erroneously determined that OPA exceeded its jurisdiction, because Guam law affords OPA the power to determine whether a bid award is in accordance with the terms and conditions of a bid solicitation. Although the Supreme Court also held that the trial court correctly denied DMR both costs and attorney’s fees under a plain reading of the applicable statute.

READ the decision in Data Management v OPA HERE

Because the Supreme Court found that procedural defects did not bar OPA’s appeal, it reversed the trial court’s March 2012 decision and order on the merits and at the same time affirmed the trial court’s July 2012 decision and order denying DMR’s request for costs and attorney’s fees.

The opinion was authored by Chief Justice Carbullido and joined by Justices Robert Torres and Katherine Maraman.

OPA APPEAL:

The OPA appealed  the trial court’s March 2012 decision arguing:

* that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter because DMR filed its petition as a special proceeding instead of as a civil action

* that the trial court erred in finding that OPA exceeded its authority when affirming GDOE’s determination that bidder Micros-Fidelio Micronesia  qualified as a manufacturer authorized reseller

* that the trial court failed to give OPA’s administrative decision the proper deference due under Guam law.

DMR, in turn, appealed the July 2012 decision on the grounds that the trial court erred in its interpretation of the applicable statute governing attorney’s fees and costs in bid protests, and that instead DMR is entitled to recovery of costs, including attorney’s fees, for waging a successful bid protest.

But the Supreme Court’s decision affirmed the trial court’s July 2012 decision denying DMR’s request for costs and attorney’s fees.

READ the release from the Guam Judiciary below:

SUPREME COURT OPINION ISSUED: Data Management Resources, LLC v. Office of Public Accountability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(November 26, 2013)(Guam Judicial Center – Hagatna) – Friday, the Supreme Court of Guam issued its opinion in the case of Data Management Resources, LLC v. Office of Public Accountability, 2013 Guam 27. In the opinion authored by Chief Justice Carbullido and joined by Justice Robert J. Torres and Justice Katherine A. Maraman, the court reversed the trial court’s March 2012 decision that reversed and rescinded the administrative decision made by the Office of Public Accountability (“OPA”) to deny the protest waged by Data Management Resources, LLC (“DMR”) and ordered the Guam Department of Education (“GDOE”) to immediately proceed with its award to qualified responsive bidders. The Supreme Court also affirmed the trial court’s July 2012 decision that denied DMR’s request for costs and attorney’s fees.

OPA appealed from the trial court’s March 2012 decision and order, arguing that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter because DMR filed its petition as a special proceeding instead of as a civil action, that the trial court erred in finding that OPA exceeded its authority when affirming GDOE’s determination that bidder Micros-Fidelio Micronesia, Inc. qualified as a manufacturer authorized reseller in accordance with the bid specifications, and that the trial court failed to give OPA’s administrative decision the proper deference due under Guam law. DMR, in turn, appealed from the July 2012 decision and order on the grounds that the trial court erred in its interpretation of the applicable statute governing attorney’s fees and costs in bid protests, and that instead DMR is entitled to recovery of costs, including attorney’s fees, for waging a successful bid protest.

The Supreme Court held that the trial court erroneously determined that OPA exceeded its jurisdiction, because Guam law affords OPA the power to determine whether a bid award is in accordance with the terms and conditions of a bid solicitation. The Supreme Court also held that the trial court correctly denied DMR both costs and attorney’s fees under a plain reading of the applicable statute. Because the Supreme Court found that procedural defects did not bar OPA’s appeal, it reversed the trial court’s March 2012 decision and order on the merits and at the same time affirmed the trial court’s July 2012 decision and order denying DMR’s request for costs and attorney’s fees.