Back in 2020, we discussed an SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) decision stating that the managing venturer must control every aspect of the joint venture. This position, which we questioned in that article, has changed since that time, and we explored the changes to the regulatory language in question not long thereafter. But this regulatory language was still vague. Since that time, there has been much case law development. The Court of Federal Claims (COFC) held in 2022, “[a] minority owner’s control over “extraordinary” actions, such as actions intended to protect the investment of minority shareholders, will not result in a finding of negative control” and applied this idea to a populated joint venture. Swift & Staley, Inc. v. United States, No. 21-1279, 2022 WL 1231428 (Fed. Cl. Mar. 31, 2022), aff’d, No. 2022-1601, 2022 WL 17576348 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 12, 2022). It now appears, fairly established at this point, that non-managing venturers can have a say in what can best be described as “extraordinary actions.” These are the sorts of decisions that can completely change the trajectory of the joint venture. But contractors must still be very careful in giving the non-managing venturer a say in the joint venture’s decisions. As one firm learned the hard way in a recent COFC case, a joint venture with too many actions controllable by the non-managing venturer may end up ineligible for set-asides. Here, we explore this decision.Continue reading
As readers of SmallGovCon know, SBA interprets its small business joint venture rules very strictly. A small business joint venture must follow all of SBA’s requirements down to the letter, or risk being found noncompliant. In a recent case, SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) examined how a joint venture was managed under the state law of Michigan and found that the joint venture was noncompliant with small business rules.Continue reading
SBA has issued a final rule updating some of its rules relating to the 8(a) Program. The final rule will have an impact on some aspects of ownership and control requirements for the 8(a) Program, including providing some flexibility for change of ownership and making some 8(a) set-aside processes a little cleaner. The rule would also allow for populated joint ventures between similarly situated joint venture members.
We wrote about the proposed rule last year. Below are some of the key takeaways from the final rule and any changes from the proposed rule.Continue reading