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On June 14, we presented a webinar titled “Frequently Asked Questions About Requests for Equitable Adjustment and Contract Disputes Act Claims.” The webinar featured some of the most common questions we encounter in the field regarding CDA claims and REAs, as well as a discussion of procedural, substantive, and business considerations that go into the

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In L-3 Commcns (Apr. 25, 2016), the ASBCA dismissed as moot the appeals of two final decisions that the contractor had argued were barred by the CDA statute of limitations when the cognizant ACOs rescinded the final decisions after the contractor had appealed.  The board held that, although the COs had not yet

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In Appeals of LRV Environmental, Inc., the ASBCA considered the issue of whether or not the Government’s “reconsideration” of a contracting officer’s final decision acts to re-set the 90-day clock for jurisdictional purposes under the CDA.  In LRV, the CO issued a final decision, and subsequently reconsidered a portion of that decision, leading

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As we discussed during Crowell & Moring’s webinar last week Top Headlines, Headaches, and Developments for Government Contractors to Watch in 2015, the CDA’s six-year statute of limitations has been a hot topic for both contractor and Government claims over the past several years.

Until recently, the case law at the Federal Circuit, the Boards, and the Court of Federal Claims was unanimous that the statute of limitations was jurisdictional. That meant that claims that accrued more than six years prior to their assertion would be null and void – contractors and the Government could not waive or toll the statutory deadline, and the tribunals had no jurisdiction to hear cases based on untimely claims. 
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Several recent Board decisions have turned on issues that serve as a reminder to contracting parties that a critical element of litigating CDA claims is adherence to statutory requirements and the Board’s rules. In Appeal of WorleyParsons, the ASBCA dismissed the government’s claim for alleged CAS violations as a nullity under the CDA, for two fundamental reasons: (1) it could not hear an appeal concerning a contract with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq (CPA), because the CPA was not an “executive agency,” and (2) the Appellant named in the claim was a member of the JV that signed the contract, but not the JV itself.

The Board’s position on Contracts with the CPA relied on prior precedent (the MAC case) holding that the CPA was an international organization, and not an Executive Agency of the Government (which is a condition of the Board’s jurisdiction under the Contract Disputes Act). Thus, the Board lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal.
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The Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7109, sets forth certain prerequisites for the exercise of jurisdiction over claims. Among these prerequisites is a six-year statute of limitations, which is applicable to Government and contractor claims alike. With few exceptions, claims submitted more than six years after “accrual” are not valid and cognizable under the CDA.

The obvious question is, when does the clock start – i.e., when does a claim “accrue”? Although the CDA does not define the term accrual, the ASBCA and Court of Federal Claims rely on the FAR 33.201 definition, which describes accrual as “the date when all events, which fix the alleged liability of either the Government or the contractor and permit the assertion of the claim, were known or should have been known.” As you may have guessed by the phrase “known or should have known,” determining when a claim accrues can raise a number of subjective and factual questions (for example, who must know? And when “should” that person have known?). Over the past several years, there have been a number of SOL decisions attempting to clarify this standard in the context of contractor and Government claims (see previous discussions here, here, here, here, here, and here).
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