Contractor Did Not Release Claims for Flood-Caused Delay

Because I’m at least partially a North Carolina country boy, I like to promise I’ll finish a project by a certain date “god willing and the creek don’t rise.”

I never give much thought to what I’ll do if the unexpected happens. I assume most people don’t. They expect things to go according to plan. As Meridian Engineering Company found out at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims recently, sorting it out when things don’t go to plan can be a long and arduous process.

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Preparing for Contract Performance . . . and Guarding Against Problems

Congratulations! After a hard bidding process, your company has earned an award. But though this award process might’ve been long and tough, potential issues are still ahead.

In our practice, we often hear stories of soured relationships with the government during contract performance. Adverse performance issues can come at a hefty cost—in terms of money, time, and reputation.

Here are some suggestions to help guard against performance disputes with the government.

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Realities of Cost Recovery in the Wake of the Federal Shutdown

Shuttering of the government (or parts of the government) following appropriations lapses has become an increasingly common phenomenon in recent years. Funding lapses interrupt the usual predictability of government operations, which is often to the detriment of both agencies and federal contractors that are left in proverbial limbo with stop work orders.

Unfortunately, unlike many other topics, the FAR does not substantively address procedures for contractors during or following a government shutdown. As such, recovering expenses incurred as a consequence of government shutdowns can be challenging.

Here are some pointers.

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I Fought the Law, and the Law Won? Standing Issues Prevent Claim of Agency’s Rulebreaking

As we discussed in July 2017, Timberline Helicopters, Inc. has been involved in ongoing litigation regarding the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management’s (a.k.a. “BLM”) procurement of helicopter flight services to aid in fire-fighting and fire-suppression missions, services essential now more than ever.

Most recently, in Timberline Helicopters, Inc. v. United States, No. 18-1474C (Fed. Cl. Nov. 14, 2018), the Court of Federal Claims held that Timberline no longer had standing to bring its claims.

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ASBCA: Claim Must Include Request for “Final Decision”

As readers of this blog might know, the government contracts claims process is set by statute and includes a number of requirements, such as being certified if the dollar amount is over $100,000.

But a possibly lesser-known requirement is that, in order to be valid, a claim must request that the contracting officer issue a “final decision” on the claim. In a recent decision, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals opined on this requirement.

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New Rule Changes Bring CBCA Procedures Into the Efiling Age

On August 17, 2018, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) issued new procedural rules which go into effect Monday, September 17, 2018. The substantial overhaul of the former rules intends to bring the CBCA into the 21st century by emphasizing, adding, and clarifying rules about electronic filing.

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Government’s Default Termination Threat Was Improper Coercion, Says ASBCA

The Government improperly threatened to terminate a contractor for default, because there was no good reason to believe the contractor had actually defaulted.

In a fascinating new decision by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Government’s threat–made to a contractor with cash-flow issues–amounted to coercion, and invalidated a settlement agreement that awarded the contractor much less than it probably should have received.

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