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As Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, countries around the world are taking action.  Relevant to U.S. Government contractors, on April 22, the Defense Logistics Agency (“DLA”) issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) seeking information on companies’ abilities to deliver military and commercial assistance to Ukraine.  The RFI states that “the Biden Administration is working around

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On March 17, 2022, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) published an initial draft of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) Risk Management Framework (“AI RMF”) to promote the development and use of responsible AI technologies and systems.  When final, the three-part AI RMF is intended for voluntary use and to improve the ability to

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2021 was another busy year in False Claims Act enforcement and litigation. Significant decisions were issued across the circuits, spanning government dismissal authority, materiality, scienter, Rule 9(b) pleading standards, the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause, and more. The year also saw proposed amendments introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley aimed at strengthening the statute and overruling

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During December 2021, the House and Senate reached agreement on a compromise National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.  On December 23, 2021, Congress presented S. 1605 to President Biden, which he signed on December 27, 2021.

The FY2022 NDAA contains numerous provisions relating to acquisition policy—which provide new opportunities for government contractors, will result in the imposition of new clauses or reporting requirements on government contractors, require government reporting to Congress on acquisition authorities and programs, alter processes and/or procedures to which government contractors are subject, etc.  Crowell & Moring’s Government Contracts Group discusses the most consequential changes in the FY2022 NDAA for government contractors below.
Continue Reading National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022: Acquisition Policy Changes of Which Government Contractors Should Be Aware

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On November 1, 2021, the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force) issued new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for federal contractors that are subject to Executive Order (EO) No. 14042 on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors.  The new guidance addresses requests for accommodations, applicability to corporate affiliates, and recommendations for enforcement and compliance.  As required by the implementing contract clause, covered contractors are required to comply with this new guidance.

Requests for accommodations:  First, the FAQs state that requests for accommodation do not need to be resolved before a covered contractor employee begins work on a covered contract or at a covered workplace.  While requests are pending, these employees must follow workplace safety protocols for employees that are not fully vaccinated as specified in the Task Force Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors, which Crowell addressed in client alerts on September 24, 2021 and October 6, 2021.  On the other hand, for covered employees that are not vaccinated because they received an accommodation from the covered contractor, agencies are entitled to determine which protocols such employees must follow when they enter a federal workplace.  Notably, agencies may determine that mandating the vaccine is the only safety measure available.  In such cases, covered employees with accommodations would be unable to work at the federal workplace but the contractor would not be relieved from meeting its contractual requirements.  Covered contractors could presumably take the same approach for employees that only or occasionally work at a covered contractor workplace.  Additionally, covered contractors should notify their contracting officer when one of their employees who works at a federal workplace has received an exception to the requirement to be fully vaccinated.

Corporate Affiliates:  Second, the FAQs clarify that corporate affiliates of a covered contractor that do not otherwise qualify as covered contractors may be covered by the vaccine mandate if: “(i) either one controls or has the power to control the other; or (ii) a third party controls or has the power to control both.”  Indicia of control also include interlocking management or ownership, identity of interests among family members, shared facilities and equipment, or common use of employees.  Therefore, employees of a corporate affiliate of a covered contractor working at the covered contractor’s “covered contractor workplace” will be subject to the vaccine mandate.  Additionally, a facility that is owned, leased, or otherwise controlled by an affiliate that is not a covered contractor will be considered a “covered contractor workplace” subject to the vaccine mandate where an employee of the affiliated covered contractor working on or in connection with a covered contract is likely to be present during the period of performance.
Continue Reading Task Force Issues New FAQs for Contractor Vaccine Requirements

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Executive Order 14042, issued on September 9, 2021, requires that certain federal contractors and subcontractors mandate vaccinations against COVID-19 for covered employees in addition to requiring compliance by covered employees and visitors with other COVID-19 safety protocols.

However, E.O. 14042 leaves several questions unanswered, including how agencies should implement the order and, in some cases,

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On July 29, 2021, President Biden announced certain actions to “get more people vaccinated.”  The White House announced that “every federal government employee and onsite contractor will be asked to attest to their vaccination status. Anyone who does not attest to being fully vaccinated will be required to wear a mask on the job no

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A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently rejected an argument advanced by two subsidiaries of a nationwide health care “watchdog” that the government improperly moved to dismiss two False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits in U.S. ex rel. Health Choice Alliance LLC et al. v. Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. et al., No. 19-40906 (5th Cir. Jul. 7, 2021).  The relators accused Bayer Corp. and Eli Lilly & Co. Inc. of participating in a kickback scheme by offering free patient-education services to providers in exchange for providers prescribing their products in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act and the FCA.  The government initially declined to intervene in the cases, then a year later, notified the relators that it intended to move to dismiss and detailed its concerns about the viability of the cases.  After two-and-a-half months of negotiations with the relators, the government moved to dismiss the cases pursuant to its authority under 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(2)(A), citing, among other things, its two-year investigation into the relators’ cases.  The District Court granted the motions and the relators appealed.

Before undertaking its substantive analysis under the FCA, the Fifth Circuit analyzed whether it had jurisdiction to hear the relators’ appeal.  Though the relators and government agreed that there was appellate jurisdiction, the Fifth Circuit identified a potential issue based on the timeline of two events: (1) relators’ voluntary dismissal without prejudice; and (2) the District Court’s order granting the government’s motion to dismiss.  Specifically, the Fifth Circuit analyzed whether the relators’ voluntary dismissal eight months prior to the government’s motion to dismiss deprived the District Court of the ability to issue a final appealable order.  The Fifth Circuit declined to create a Circuit split on the question, and concluded “that the prior without-prejudice dismissals did not deprive the district court’s subsequent decision of finality.”

Continue Reading Fifth Circuit Declines to Take a Side in the FCA Circuit Split on DOJ’s Dismissal Authority Pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3730(c)(2)(A)

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Crowell & Moring’s “All Things Protest” podcast keeps you up to date on major trends in bid protest litigation, key developments in high-profile cases, and best practices in state and federal procurement. In this episode, hosts Rob Sneckenberg, Olivia Lynch, and Christian Curran discuss considerations and best practices when the Government inadvertently releases competition-sensitive information.

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The Federal Circuit recently affirmed the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals’ (CBCA) decision denying a pandemic-related claim in Pernix Serka Joint Venture v. Secretary of State, CBCA No. 5683, 20-1 BCA ¶ 37,589.  Pernix involved a firm-fixed-price construction contract in Sierra Leone that was impacted by an Ebola outbreak several months into the project.  The Department of State (DOS) declined to provide direction or to issue a suspension of work order, and instead advised Pernix to make its own business decisions regarding performance and employee safety.  Pernix chose to demobilize its workforce and, later, to remobilize with the addition of its own on-site medical facility and services.  Pernix then submitted a claim for the increased medical, safety, and demobilization and remobilization costs.  DOS granted an adjustment to the schedule for the Ebola-related delays under the contract’s excusable delay clause, but denied Pernix’s monetary claim.
Continue Reading Federal Circuit Affirms Board Decision on Pandemic-Related Claim