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Motorola Solutions, Inc. v. Utah Communications Authority

Supreme Court of Utah

November 1, 2019

Motorola Solutions, Inc., Petitioner,
v.
Utah Communications Authority, and Harris Corporation, Respondents.

          On Petition for Review of Agency Decision [1]

          Christopher R. Hogle, Richard D. Flint, Christopher D. Mack, Salt Lake City, for petitioner

          Jason D. Boren, Jacey Skinner, Nathan R. Marigoni, Salt Lake City, for respondent Utah Communications Authority

          John R. Lund, J. Michael Bailey, Brandon J. Mark, Adam E. Weinacker, Salt Lake City, for respondent Harris Corporation

          CHIEF JUSTICE DURRANT authored the opinion of the Court, in which ASSOCIATE CHIEF JUSTICE LEE, JUSTICE HIMONAS, JUSTICE PETERSEN, and JUDGE PARKER joined.

          Having recused himself, JUSTICE PEARCE does not participate herein; DISTRICT COURT JUDGE PAUL PARKER sat.

          OPINION

          DURRANT, CHIEF JUSTICE

         INTRODUCTION

         ¶1 On June 27, 2019, we issued an order denying Petitioner Motorola Solutions, Inc.'s Rule 17 Motion for Stay Pending Review. We now explain our reasoning for denying the motion. In the motion, Motorola asked us to stay further proceedings related to Respondent Utah Communications Authority's (UCA) efforts to hire a private contractor to implement a new statewide emergency public radio system. Specifically, Motorola requested the stay to stop UCA from entering into a contract (for the purpose of implementing the emergency radio system) with Respondent Harris Corporation until Motorola's appeal protesting UCA's decision to award that contract had been resolved. UCA and Harris argued, however, that Motorola's motion for a stay was moot. We agreed.

         ¶2 UCA and Harris argued that Motorola's motion for a stay was moot because UCA's executive director had already entered into a contract with Harris. In response, Motorola did not dispute that Harris and the UCA executive director had signed a contract. Instead, Motorola argued that no contract could be formed until the UCA board had approved it. Because we concluded that the UCA executive director had authority to enter into contracts on UCA's behalf, we held that Motorola's motion requesting a stay was moot. For this reason, we denied the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶3 In 2018, UCA sought proposed bids for the implementation of a statewide public safety emergency radio system. After considering the proposed bids, including bids from Motorola and Harris, UCA announced it had accepted Harris's bid and would therefore begin contract negotiations with Harris.

         ¶4 Motorola challenged UCA's decision by lodging three protests, based on alleged violations of various Utah Procurement Code[2] provisions, with a designated protest officer. All three protests were denied. Motorola appealed the denial of these protests to the Utah Procurement Policy Board, which subsequently affirmed the denials. Motorola then appealed the Policy Board's decision to the Utah Court of Appeals.

         ¶5 Under the Procurement Code, the lodging of a protest automatically stays all procurement proceedings until all administrative and judicial remedies are exhausted.[3] But the Procurement Code also allows a procurement unit-in this case, UCA-to lift the stay where the head of the procurement unit (1) consults with the unit's attorney and (2) "makes a written determination that award of the contract without delay is necessary to protect the best interest of the procurement unit or the state."[4]Using the authority granted in the Procurement Code, UCA's acting executive director lifted the ...


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