MAPPS Statement on QBS Court Ruling

June 15, 2007 – “In a decision based entirely on process, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled that MAPPS and its co-plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the question of whether the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) properly implement the Federal “Brooks Act” and its application to a broad scope of surveying and mapping, as repeatedly prescribed by Congress on numerous occasions and under numerous provisions of enacted law. By ruling on process, the Court did not address the legal merits and policy issues of the case as presented by MAPPS and its co-plaintiffs, which means the question of QBS applicability to mapping is unresolved and leaves the door open to further litigation.

However, the Court did reaffirm the fact that where an applicable state licensing law requires performance by a licensed surveyor, a Federal agency must abide by that state law and use QBS on the contract. This is an important victory with regard to programs like the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP). MAPPS is also heartened by the fact that the court noted, “the record unambiguously reflects that the provision of “mapping” services in the modern marketplace includes a much broader scope of work than the traditional mapping work of land surveyors”. MAPPS strongly agrees with this statement. It is the essence of the substance in the case. Moreover, the Court did not accept the claim of the amicus parties, that only licensed architects, engineers or surveyors would be able to do Federal mapping contract work if the Court ordered QBS. The Court’s ruling reaffirms MAPPS’ contention that this was not an issue in the case.

The Court did not comment on the full legislative history, nor on the more than a dozen individual pieces of enacted legislation and Congressional legislative history in which Congress ordered QBS for mapping activities broadly defined, nor the various state law definitions of surveying that include mapping activities.

The game is not over. This action is tantamount to a balk being called in the top of the first inning. This is still a nine-inning game.

MAPPS remains committed to professionalism and the ability of our members and others to fully and openly compete for Federal contracts based on competence and qualifications, rather than on price. MAPPS remains committed to protecting the public health, welfare and safety. The MAPPS Board of Directors will continue to discuss this issue with the MAPPS membership, consult with legal counsel, deliberate with MAPPS partners in COFPAES, and consider the next course of action. The MAPPS Board is grateful for the support it has received from so many members, other associations, and stakeholders in the private sector and government, and looks forward to continuing to work with these parties on this important issue.”

The 105Kb PDF of the Court’s ruling can be seen by clicking HERE.

More from the other organizations involved HERE.