On April 26, the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Crawford v. United States (a C&M case), holding that a U.S. Army combat veteran is entitled to recover his attorneys’ fees arising from a dispute related to obtaining medical retirement benefits earned during his service. In the underlying dispute on remand to the Army Board
Charles Baek is a counsel in Crowell & Moring’s Washington, D.C. office, where he practices in the Government Contracts Group.
Charles represents government contractors in both litigation and counseling matters. His practice focuses on contract claims/disputes under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA), litigation before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), federal regulatory and ethics compliance and due diligence, bid protests before the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and False Claims Act (FCA) investigations. His practice also includes state contracting due diligence and litigation before the Court of Federal Claims.
When is the Price of a Fixed-Price Contract Not Fixed?
In Tolliver Group, Inc. v. United States (Aug. 17, 2022), the Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) granted the contractor’s request for summary judgment, awarding $195,890 in legal fees the contractor incurred to successfully defend against a False Claims Act suit brought by a whistleblower. The court held that the cost principles in Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) Subpart 31.2 applied to the contractor’s fixed-price task order, and the contractor’s legal fees were allowable and payable under the contract. This is the second time that the COFC addressed the contractor’s entitlement to legal fees, having previously held that the contractor could recover a portion of them under the Spearin doctrine (which we reported on here). The Federal Circuit later vacated that award on jurisdictional grounds (reported on here) and remanded the case to the COFC.
Continue Reading When is the Price of a Fixed-Price Contract Not Fixed?
Federal Circuit Affirms Board Decision on Pandemic-Related Claim
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
Time is Money: Contractor’s Claims for Payment Dismissed
In URS Federal Services, Inc., ASBCA No. 62475 (March 23, 2021), the Board dismissed a contractor’s three-count complaint for lack of jurisdiction on one count and for failure to state a claim on the other two. The Board first addressed Count III, which alleged that the Government had breached the implied duty of…
Show Me the Money? When a Sum Approximate Counts as a Sum Certain
In Creative Management Services, LLC, dba MC-2 v. U.S. (Feb. 26, 2021), the Federal Circuit affirmed a Court of Federal Claims decision dismissing a contractor’s appeal of the government’s Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claim as untimely, holding that the contractor appealed more than 12 months after receiving a contracting officer’s (CO) final decision. On appeal, the contractor alleged that the final decision was not a valid claim because it did not state a “sum certain” as required by the CDA, and this deficiency meant that the 12-month appeal period had not started to run.
The contractor was awarded a General Services Administration (GSA) task order to provide marketing and logistical support for an annual GSA conference, and was required to keep the revenue it collected for the conference in a trust account. When GSA canceled the conference in the fourth year and asked the contractor to return all remaining money in the trust account, the contractor refused and submitted a termination for convenience proposal to GSA. GSA subsequently issued two letters to the contractor demanding an accounting of the trust account and all money that remained in it. The CO then issued a final decision on the contractor’s termination proposal and on GSA’s claim to the remaining funds in the trust account, without providing a dollar amount. The contractor filed suit three years after the final decision was issued, challenging the government’s claim to the trust account funds.…
Continue Reading Show Me the Money? When a Sum Approximate Counts as a Sum Certain
CARES Act Section 3610 Relief Extended Until September 30, 2021
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (the Act), signed into law by President Biden on March 11, 2021, extends Section 3610 of the CARES Act (previously discussed here, here, and here) through September 30, 2021. The extension allows federal agencies to reimburse contractors for six additional months of paid-leave costs if…
Not So Fast: An REA that Does Not Seek a Final Decision Is Not a CDA Claim
In BAE Systems Ordnance Systems, Inc., ASBCA No. 62416 (February 10, 2021), the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals addressed whether an request for equitable adjustment (REA) constituted a Contract Disputes Act (CDA) claim. BAE submitted a series of REAs that it consistently labeled and characterized as such and certified in accordance with…
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021: Need-to-Know Provisions for Government Contractors
On December 11, 2020, Congress presented to President Trump H.R. 6395, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. On December 23, 2020, President Trump vetoed the bill. Subsequently, the House voted on December 28, 2020 and the Senate voted on January 1, 2021 to override the veto.
This Act contains numerous provisions that…
Show Me The Money (Or GFE): FAR 52.245-1 Required Contracting Officer to Consider Equitable Adjustment for Missing Equipment
In BGT Holdings, Inv. v. United States, No. 1:18-cv-00178-PEC (Fed. Cir. Dec. 23, 2020), the Federal Circuit held that FAR 52.245-1 requires the Government to consider an equitable adjustment when it fails to provide Government-furnished equipment (GFE) required by the contract. The contract in question required the Government to furnish equipment for the construction…
Section 3610 of the CARES Act Extended Until March 31, 2021
On Sunday, President Trump signed a combined COVID-Relief and Omnibus Spending Bill, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which funds the Federal Government for FY 2021 and includes a variety of COVID-19-related relief measures. Among those measures, Section 1002 of the Act extends the reimbursement period for Section 3610 of the CARES Act, which…