Photo of Alexandra Barbee-Garrett

Alexandra Barbee-Garrett is an associate in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office, where she practices in the Government Contracts Group.

Alex represents government contractors in both litigation and counseling matters. Her practice includes bid protests before the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Alex’s practice also focuses on federal regulatory compliance, mandatory disclosures to the government, contract disputes under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA), prime-sub disputes, and False Claims Act and internal investigations.

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Alex was a law clerk to Judge Richard A. Hertling of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and a government contracts associate at another large law firm. Alex graduated honors from The George Washington University Law School, where she was an articles editor of The Public Contract Law Journal. Alex won the 2015 Government Contracts Moot Court Competition and served as chair for the 2016 competition. Prior to law school, Alex worked as a health care legislative assistant for Rep. Rick Larsen (WA) in the U.S. House of Representatives. She received her B.A. in international studies and anthropology from the University of Washington.

On August 18, 2022, the FAR Council issued a proposed amendment to the FAR implementing Executive Order 14063, Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects, which requires the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) on any large-scale federal construction projects valued at or above $35 million unless an exception applies.  The Order, and the proposed rule, also give agencies discretion to use PLAs on projects under that $35 million threshold. 

In addition to expanding definitions of “construction,” “labor organization,” and “large-scale construction project” to align with E.O. 14063, the proposed rule would revise FAR 22.503 to reflect the change in policy that mandates agencies to require the use of PLAs when awarding large-scale federal construction contracts—including individual orders under Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts—unless an exception applies.  The proposed rule would make the PLA requirement a mandatory flow-down.  The proposed rule would also allow agencies to include any additional agency-specific requirements in a PLA through FAR 22.504(b)(6), and would strike the current FAR 22.504(c), which grants agencies discretion to specify PLA terms and conditions. 

Continue Reading FAR Council Proposes New Rule on Project Labor Agreements for Major Construction Projects

On July 18, the GSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued an Alert Memorandum both broadcasting and criticizing the Federal Acquisition Service’s (FAS) apparent decision to expand the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) rule to the entire Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). The TDR Pilot Program studied the potential for TDR to reduce the compliance burdens of the MAS program by replacing the various requirements Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contractors must fulfill to ensure the pricing offered to GSA customers is fair and reasonable, including the obligation to make Commercial Sales Practice disclosures and to track commercial pricing and discounts to the negotiated Basis of Award customer under the Price Reductions Clause. The GSA OIG previously criticized the TDR Pilot Program.

Continue Reading TDR Wars—Episode V: OIG Strikes Back

In American Mine Services, LLC, B-420138 (Dec. 3, 2021), the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) denied a protest by American Mine Services (“AMS”), finding that the Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) reasonably rejected AMS’ bid because it included a provision stating that COVID-19, as well as other similar pandemics or endemics, would be considered “force

Earlier today, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia issued a preliminary nationwide injunction of the contractor vaccine mandate in Executive Order 14042.  This injunction will bar the Government “from enforcing the vaccine mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors in all covered contracts in any state or territory of the United States

On November 4, 2021, the White House released a Fact Sheet announcing that federal covered contractors now have until January 4, 2022 for their covered employees to receive their final vaccination doses. Under the Executive Order 14042 and the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force guidance, covered contractors previously had until December 8, 2021 to have

In Aero Spray, Inc. d/b/a Dauntless Air v. U.S., the U.S. Court of Federal Claims dismissed a protest filed by Aero Spray, an awardee of an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (“IDIQ”) contract for Department of the Interior plane-based firefighting services.  Aero Spray’s protest challenged the agency’s award of IDIQ contracts to two other companies, alleging that their planes did not comply with the solicitation’s required firefighting configuration.

Aero Spray argued that despite being an awardee itself, it had standing to protest the additional awards because they increased competition for awards of future task orders competed amongst the IDIQ holders, to Aero Spray’s detriment.  The Court disagreed, holding that Aero Spray’s protest related to the award of the IDIQ contracts—not future task orders—and that Aero Spray “already . . . won the only contract award to which it could possibly be entitled.”  In so holding, the Court expressly agreed with the Government Accountability Office, which has held that that “an awardee, by definition, is not an actual or prospective offeror,” and that “[d]ue to the nature of IDIQ contracts, . . . an awardee has no legally cognizable expectation of receiving future task orders” but only a “guaranteed a minimum quantity of orders . . . and a fair opportunity to compete for future task orders.”  Aegis Def. Servs., LLC, B-412755, Mar. 25, 2016, 2016 CPD ¶ 98.  The Court also rejected the reasoning in National Air Cargo Group, Inc. v. U.S., 126 Fed. Cl. 281 (2016), which allowed an awardee to protest additional IDIQ awards due to the potential impact on future task order competitions, and distinguished PAE-Parsons Global Logistics Services., LLC v. U.S., 145 Fed. Cl. 194 (2019), and Sirius Federal, LLC v. U.S., 153 Fed. Cl. 410 (2021), which noted that an awardee can have standing to challenge other awards under the same procurement where those other awards are distinct from (e.g., more valuable than) the awardee’s own.
Continue Reading Court of Federal Claims Refuses to Hear Protest from IDIQ Awardee

Following President Biden’s announcement of Executive Order 14042 (“EO”) on September 9, 2021, several agencies have issued guidance on the EO’s applicability to the contractor community, which we reported on here.  Further to GSA’s September 30, 2021 Class Deviation CD-2021-13, on October 6, 2021, GSA reiterated that a mass modification program for all

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)

In L3 Technologies, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 61811, et al. (Mar. 1, 2021), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (Board) granted the Government’s motion to dismiss the appeal, over the contractor’s objection, following the Contracting Officer’s (CO) unequivocal withdrawal of its cost disallowance claims. The contractor argued that its case was not moot despite

In Globe Trailer Manufacturing, Inc., ASBCA No. 62594 (Jan. 28, 2021), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (the Board) addressed whether a contractor’s certified supplement to a termination settlement proposal (TSP) constitutes a claim under the Contract Disputes Act. After termination, the contractor submitted a TSP that included costs of constructive changes. During