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HOWES LEATHER CO. v. GOLDEN

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


December 23, 1987

Howes Leather Company, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Terence C. Golden, Administrator, General Services Administration, et al., Defendants

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

MEMORANDUM OPINION

 Joyce Hens Green, United States District Judge:

 Plaintiff Howes Leather Company, Inc., a disappointed bidder, instituted this action in 1981 challenging defendants' decision in February 1981 not to accept plaintiff's bids for certain lots of excess government stockpile "quebracho," a vegetable tannin extract used in leather tanning operations. Plaintiff alleges that defendant General Services Administration ("GSA") *fn1" abused its discretion, acted outside the scope of its statutory authority, and violated the antitrust laws. The matter now comes before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion of defendants is granted.

 I. Factual Background

 Under the Strategic and Critical Materials Stock Piling Act ("Stockpiling Act" or "Act"), 50 U.S.C. §§ 98 to 98h-4 (1951 & Supp. 1987), the government stockpiles various materials, including quebracho, to ensure wartime availability. When the government supply exceeds potential wartime needs, GSA *fn2" is authorized to dispose of materials through formal advertising and competitive negotiation procedures. Id. § 98e(a), (b).

 The National Defense stockpile of quebracho in February 1981 was 142,703 "long" tons. *fn3" Under congressional mandate authorizing GSA to dispose of large quantities of excess quebracho, GSA was seeking to reduce that amount to 28,000 long tons. *fn4" Defs. Exh. 35. In October 1980, GSA offered for sale 6000 long tons of excess quebracho, *fn5" located at various storage facilities around the country and divided into lots, limiting each bidder to 40% of the total amount available. See Defs. Exh. 11 (VTE-35), 13 (amendment). *fn6" Bid opening was scheduled for February 3, 1981. *fn7"

 Plaintiff, one of the nation's largest quebracho consumers, tendered sealed bids on eight specific lots of quebracho, totaling 1,627,456 pounds (or 726.5 long tons), at a price between $.1927/lb. and $.2482/lb (or a weighted average of $ 0.2182/lb). Defs. Facts, para. 18. Plaintiff was the sole bidder on seven of the eight lots, and submitted the second lowest weighted average bid price of the seven firms that made offers to buy. *fn8" Announcing that it had arrived at a cut-off price of $.2588/lb. for all quebracho lots, GSA did not accept plaintiff's bids and kept the lots on which plaintiff had bid available for future sale. The array of bids and awards was as follows: Bidder Lots Lbs. Price Range Pilar River Plate Corp. bid & award: 5 448,514 $.2601 -.2742 Middlesboro Tanning Co. bid: 5 1,119,977 .2546 -.2630 award: 4 895,977 .2588 -.2630 L. H. Lincoln & Sons, Inc. bid & award: 1 56,000 .2618 Pfister & Vogel Tanning bid: 5 807,466 .2000 -.2626 award: 2 457,370 .2626 Eberle Tanning Co. bid: 1 224,000 .2000 Tannin Corp. award: 2 117,668 .2311 -.2511 Howes Leather Co., Inc. bid: 8 1,627,456 .1927 -.2482

19871223

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



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