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A wave of recent changes in federal and state law pertaining to PFAS chemicals is likely to present both immediate and long-term challenges to the government contracting community. At the federal level, contractors that import products, parts, packaging, equipment or other articles with components that contain PFAS must confront new and extensive regulatory reporting requirements relating to such imports going back to 2011, and they must do so by May 2025. At the state level, a growing list of states are enacting total bans on the sale and distribution of such products and components. On top of this flurry of environmental regulatory activity, the Biden Administration continues to direct federal agencies to develop procurement strategies that prioritize the purchase of PFAS-free articles as part the Administration’s broader effort to leverage the federal procurement function in pursuit of climate and sustainability policy objectives.

Continue Reading New Federal and State PFAS Requirements Pose Unique Challenges to the Government Contracting Community
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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in Avue Technologies Corp. v. Department of Health and Human Services that an appellant’s non-frivolous allegation of a contract with the government via an end-user license agreement (EULA) incorporated into another contractor’s Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) agreement was sufficient to establish jurisdiction under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA).

Continue Reading Just Trust Me on This: Allegation of Contract’s Existence Is Sufficient to Establish Jurisdiction Under Contract Disputes Act
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Our Two Cents

In this second inaugural episode of It All Adds Up, Nicole Owren-Wiest and Erin Rankin riff on why they care so much about government contracts cost and pricing – and why you should, too. “It All Adds Up” is Crowell & Moring’s podcast covering the latest government contract accounting, cost, and pricing developments.

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Defense Innovation Unit, AI, Proposal Timeliness

This week’s episode covers DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit report about actions to maintain U.S. technological superiority, DOJ’s plans to address the dangers posed by AI technology by seeking sentencing enhancements for crimes committed using AI technology, and a GAO decision involving a situation in which an offeror’s proposal was blocked by the agency’s cybersecurity system, and is hosted by Peter Eyre and Yuan Zhou. Crowell & Moring’s “Fastest 5 Minutes” is a biweekly podcast that provides a brief summary of significant government contracts legal and regulatory developments that no government contracts lawyer or executive should be without.

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A recent decision in a non-intervened qui tam suit in the Northern District of Georgia provides an example of a defendant threading the needle to avoid dismissal of its counterclaims despite those counterclaims arguably implicating the conduct that the relator alleged violated the False Claims Act (FCA). It also stands as a rare instance where a company’s counterclaims against an FCA relator have survived early court scrutiny and, as such, provides FCA defendants with a potential strategy to combat opportunistic relators.

Continue Reading Counterclaims Against Compliance-Officer-Turned-Relator Survive Motion to Dismiss
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Generally, a GAO protest challenging the terms of a solicitation is timely if filed within 10 days after the denial of an agency-level protest, “even if filed after bid opening or the closing time for receipt of proposals.”  4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(3).  Accordingly, the salient consideration for determining when that 10-day clock begins to run is when the agency denies the agency-level protest.  But in Marathon Medical Corp., B-422168.2, February 14, 2024, GAO held that if an agency has not ruled on a pre-award agency-level protest as of the closing date for receipt of proposals, then the protest is deemed denied as of that date—and the protester’s clock for filing a GAO protest begins to run—even if the agency later issues an actual decision denying the protest. 

Continue Reading Yet Another Timeliness Trap for the Unsuspecting Protester: A Pre-Award Agency-Level Protest Is Functionally Denied as of the Closing Date for Receipt of Proposals, Even if the Agency Actually Denies it Later
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“Now or later?”  As individuals, we are constantly asked to prioritize our time, identifying the tasks that need to be done NOW versus those that can be put off until later.  In the bid protest context, the question arises as well when agencies seek to “fill in the gaps” in the administrative record with additional detail, a practice GAO has permitted so long as those details are consistent with the contemporaneous record.  But, as highlighted by two recent GAO sustain decisions, when agencies attempt to perform new analyses “later” in response to a protest, those efforts are often unsuccessful. 

Continue Reading “Better Late Than Never?” Not Really. Two Recent GAO Sustains Highlight the Importance of Contemporaneous Documentation
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In Strategic Technology Institute, Inc. v. Sec’y of Def., 91 F.4th 1140 (Fed. Cir. 2024), the Federal Circuit affirmed a decision by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), which held that the government’s 2018 claim was not time-barred by the Contract Dispute Act’s (CDA) six-year statute of limitations.  The ASBCA found that the government’s claim did not begin to accrue until 2014, the date the government received the contractor’s indirect cost rate proposals for fiscal year (FY) 2008 and FY 2009. 

Continue Reading Start the Clock: Government’s Indirect Cost Rate Claim Accrued upon Submission of Indirect Cost Rate Proposal
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Criminal Investigations and the False Claims Act

In this episode, Steve Byers, Jason Crawford, and Agustin Orozco discuss the intersection between False Claims Act investigations and parallel criminal proceedings. “Let’s Talk FCA” is Crowell & Moring’s podcast covering the latest developments with the False Claims Act.

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Offerors understand that missing a submission deadline can sink even the best proposal because “late is late.”  But what happens when an offeror timely emails its proposal only to have an agency server reject it without any notification to the offeror?  GAO’s recent decision in Guidehouse, Inc., B-422115.2, Jan. 19, 2024, says that the proposal is still late and emphasizes the potentially draconian impact of the “late is late” rule.

Continue Reading The Agency’s Email Server Ate My Proposal! – GAO Rejects Challenge to “Late is Late” Rule