Updates on Prior Board Decisions
Today, we revisit an appeal – Star Computer Supply, LLC, No. 3002 (State breached contract and unlawfully sent disputed claim to Central Claims Unit). Summaries of these decisions were included in Procurement Law Alerts on August 15 and September 26, respectively.
Star Computer Supply, LLC, No. 3002
As previously reported, in Star Computer Supply, LLC, No. 3002 (MSBCA Aug. 15, 2017), the Board decided that the State Board of Elections (“SBE”) breached its contract with Star Computer Supply, LLC (“Star”) by demanding a refund for extended manufacturers’ warranties on printers well after the expiration of the return policy under the contract, and then sending its disputed contract claim to the Central Claims Unit (“CCU”) for collection, thereby magically transforming a “claim” into a “debt.”
Following the Board’s decision in favor of Star, SBE filed a motion for reconsideration. The Board doubled-down on its criticisms of SBE’s handling of the disputed contract claim, finding that CCU did not have a legal right to collect money from Star without following the procedures as required under Maryland law. Further, SBE’s decision to refer the disputed contract claim to CCU did not deprive the Board of jurisdiction because either SBE or CCU was required to institute an action with the Board to resolve the claim.
The Board ultimately rejected each of SBE’s arguments, and denied its motion for reconsideration.
Reminder: Entities Cannot Represent Themselves Before the Board
In another recent decision, Masabi LLC, No. 3039 (MSBCA Oct. 5, 2017), the Board dismissed an appeal for one common reason, and, alternatively, for an uncommon reason.
First, Masabi LLC (“Masabi”) filed its written bid protest fourteen (14) days after the basis for protest was known, or should have been known, in violation of COMAR 21.10.02.03(C). Untimeliness is the single most common reason for the MSBCA to dismiss an appeal.
However, Masabi also made the mistake of failing to hire an attorney to represent it before the Board. In the absence of representation by a Maryland attorney, a corporation lacks standing to seek relief at the MSBCA. Therefore its appeal was subject to dismissal. See COMAR 21.10.05.03(A) which requires a legal entity to be “represented by an attorney at law licensed in Maryland.”