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SINGLE SCREW COMPRESSOR, INC. v. U.S. DEPT. OF NAV

May 12, 1992

SINGLE SCREW COMPRESSOR, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF NAVY, et al., Defendants. AURORA TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION Intervenor.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANLEY SPORKIN

 This case comes before the Court on the Defendants, U.S. Department of the Navy's ("Navy"), Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment. Because this Court finds that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Summary judgment may be granted to the moving party if

 "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law."

 Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (c). Under Celotex Corporation v. Garret, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553 (1986), summary judgment is appropriate "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial."

 In deciding a motion for summary judgment a district court must view the available evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. Adickes v. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142, 90 S. Ct. 1598 (1970). Therefore, for the purposes of this motion, the Court accepts the following facts as not in dispute.

 The Plaintiff in this case is Single Screw Compressor, Inc. ("Single Screw"), a company that manufactures rotary single screw air compressors, products which are used to power shipboard systems by the United States Navy. Defendants are the United States Department of the Navy and various Navy officials at the David Taylor Research Center ("Navy") involved with the defense contract at issue in this case. Aurora Technology Corporation ("Aurora") is the party with whom the Navy did execute the contract at issue.

 Several years ago a Navy engineer who was visiting Aurora on other business was shown drawings for a Cylindrical Orthogonal Cylindrical Arrangement ("COCA") air compressor. COCA is a term coined by Aurora which describes an air compressor in which the gaterotors, or the parts of the compressor that turn the cylindrical screw, are all at perpendicular angles to that screw. Such an instrument, should it work, would be a new and unique design for a single screw compressor. Transcript of Argument on Motion for Summary Judgment at 21 ("Tr."). The Navy engineer was interested in Aurora's new design, but at the time there was no money available in the Research Center's budget to pursue this new design.

 In 1991 money did become available in the Research Center's budget, and the center decided to obtain one prototype of Aurora's COCA design. The Navy's sole object was to test the prototype to see whether further research into the COCA concept was desirable. Because the Research Center believed that Aurora was the only supplier who had developed COCA technology, the Navy decided to proceed on a sole source procurement pursuant to 10 U.S.C. ยง 2304(c)(1).

 In April, 1991 Mr. Leonard Sundue, the Contracting Officer assigned to this project, initiated the prerequisite steps to negotiating a sole source procurement with Aurora. On April 10, 1991 Sundue prepared a Justification For Other Than Full and Open Competition. The reason stated in the Justification for proceeding on a sole source basis was as follows:

 Aurora's unique design for the COCA may provide higher pressure capability (300 psig ) than what has been demonstrated for single screw or rotary technology to date. This prototype would be set up at DTRC for testing and evaluation. . . .

 The use of the [statutory] authority cited is because Aurora Technology has the proprietary unique design concept of the COCA. This concept offers potential for higher volumetric efficiency, improved bearing loading and performance, reduced structural loading and simplified manufacturing and assembly. In addition the design offers significantly fewer parts (few valves, lower noise), better balancing, higher reliability and reduced manufacturing cost.


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