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In Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, ASBCA No. 62209 (a C&M case), the Board granted Lockheed Martin’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether the Government can assert laches as an affirmative defense to a Contract Disputes Act claim. In a case of first impression, Lockheed Martin argued that the affirmative defense of laches is not available in CDA appeals because laches is an equitable doctrine, which may not be applied when there is an applicable statute of limitations, such as the CDA’s six-year statute of limitations. The Air Force argued that FAR 33.203(c) preserves the equitable defense of laches because the clause states that the Boards of Contract Appeals “continue to have all of the authority they possessed before the Disputes statute with respect to disputes arising under a contract, as well as authority to decide disputes relating to a contract.” The Board held that, consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in SCA Hygiene Prods. Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Prods., LLC, 137 S. Ct. 954 (2017) (a patent case) and Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 U.S. 663 (2014) (a copyright infringement case), laches is not available when there is a “legislatively-enacted statute of limitations,” and FAR 33.203(c) does not preserve the pre-FASA affirmative defense of laches. The Board noted that while the Federal Circuit has not yet applied SCA Hygiene in a CDA case, the Board is bound by the precedent of the United States Supreme Court, and therefore does not need to await a Federal Circuit decision.

The Board’s decision in Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company marks the end of laches as an affirmative defense to claims brought within the CDA’s six-year statute of limitations at the ASBCA.

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Photo of Steve McBrady Steve McBrady

Steve McBrady is a partner and co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group. He also serves as a member of the firm’s Finance and Strategic Growth Committees, where he has played a leading role in expanding client service offerings throughout the U.S.…

Steve McBrady is a partner and co-chair of Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group. He also serves as a member of the firm’s Finance and Strategic Growth Committees, where he has played a leading role in expanding client service offerings throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

In recent years, Steve has received the National Law Journal’s “Winning Litigator” award as a lawyer who has “tackled some of the most widely watched cases of the year,” as well as the “D.C. Trailblazer” award, recognizing lawyers who have “made significant marks on the practice.” In 2018, he was named “Government Contracts MVP” by Law360.

Photo of J. Chris Haile J. Chris Haile

J. Chris Haile is a partner at Crowell & Moring with extensive experience in government procurement law. Mr. Haile litigates disputes and counsels clients in a broad range of government contract matters, with particular emphasis on the resolution of contract disputes. For example…

J. Chris Haile is a partner at Crowell & Moring with extensive experience in government procurement law. Mr. Haile litigates disputes and counsels clients in a broad range of government contract matters, with particular emphasis on the resolution of contract disputes. For example, Mr. Haile has represented clients in matters involving the government’s breach of contract, claims for contract changes, termination for default, termination for convenience, Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA) compliance and defective pricing, commercial-item procurement, contract negotiations, and bid protests. He also represents clients in other related matters, such as investigations and audits by government agencies or inspectors general (IGs), False Claims Act / qui tam relator suits, and disclosures to the U.S. Government.

Photo of Skye Mathieson Skye Mathieson

Skye Mathieson is a counsel in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office. He works with and advises clients from diverse industries on a wide array of matters, including contract performance disputes (CDA claims and equitable adjustments), cost allowability…

Skye Mathieson is a counsel in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office. He works with and advises clients from diverse industries on a wide array of matters, including contract performance disputes (CDA claims and equitable adjustments), cost allowability issues, defective pricing, fiscal law questions, prime-sub disputes, bid protests, internal investigations, and responding to DCAA audits. Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Skye spent several years as a trial attorney at the procurement litigation division of the Air Force Headquarters for Legal Operations, where he pioneered the seminal “Laguna Defense” that is now widely raised and litigated at the Boards of Contract Appeals.

Photo of Michelle Coleman Michelle Coleman

Michelle D. Coleman is a counsel in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office. Michelle advises clients from diverse industries in connection with contract disputes and other government contract matters, including Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claims and requests for…

Michelle D. Coleman is a counsel in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office. Michelle advises clients from diverse industries in connection with contract disputes and other government contract matters, including Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claims and requests for equitable adjustments, fiscal law questions, prime-sub disputes, and bid protests.

Photo of John Nakoneczny John Nakoneczny

John Nakoneczny is an associate in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office.

John represents and counsels contractors from diverse industries on contract disputes and other government contract matters. Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, he clerked at the…

John Nakoneczny is an associate in the Government Contracts Group in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office.

John represents and counsels contractors from diverse industries on contract disputes and other government contract matters. Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, he clerked at the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, where he supported its judges in resolving and mediating appeals under the Contract Disputes Act. John earned his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, where he was the president of the Government Contracts Student Association and on the Federal Circuit Bar Journal. While in law school, John served as a legal intern at the U.S. General Services Administration and the Fraud Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division. Upon graduation, John was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award.