Alan Pemberton

Alan Pemberton

Alan Pemberton heads the firm’s Government Contracts practice group. His practice includes government contracts, as well as construction litigation and other complex civil litigation and ADR. He has practiced in the government contracts area since 1982, and his practice includes bid protest and other procurement litigation before GAO, agency boards of contract appeals, the federal courts and ADR tribunals. He advises contractors and grantees about the full range of government proposal, performance, compliance, regulatory, suspension and debarment, transactional and legislative issues.

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Fourth Circuit Further Defines Scope of Contractor Risks in the FMS Sales Context

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently published a decision that expanded on its prior Trimble ruling that a foreign government customer cannot sue a U.S. contractor in the Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) context (at least in U.S. courts).  In BAE Sys. Tech. Solution & Servs., Inc. v. Republic of Korea’s Def. Acq. … Continue Reading

Employee Efforts to Stop Employer FCA Violation is Protected Activity Even When No Distinct Possibility of FCA Litigation, says Fourth Circuit

The Fourth Circuit recently held, in an unpublished opinion, that the anti-retaliation or “whistleblower” provisions of the False Claims Act (“FCA”) protect an individual’s efforts to stop a contractor from violating the FCA, even when there is no “distinct possibility” of litigation.  This “distinct possibility” standard was adopted prior to 2009 when the whistleblower provision … Continue Reading

DoD IG Report Reveals Ongoing Struggles in IT-Acquisition Reform

IT-acquisition reform remains an area of ongoing concern for Federal agencies and government contractors.  Indeed, as we previously discussed, the GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its bi-annual list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  Strengthened by Congress’ passage in December 2014 of the … Continue Reading

FAR Council Proposes to Disallow Costs of Congressional Investigations That Result From Adverse Legal and Administrative Proceedings

On February 17, 2016, the FAR Council proposed a rule that would add a new category of unallowable costs to FAR Part 31 — costs of responding to an inquiry by Congress, if that inquiry results from a judicial or administrative proceeding in which the contractor is found criminally liable, found liable for civil fraud, … Continue Reading

Bill Providing for Congressional Approval of Major Rules Passes House of Representatives

Congress is currently considering a bill that if enacted would require “major rules” to receive approval from both the House of Representatives and the Senate before going into effect. The bill defines major rules using current standards—which, among other categories, cover rules that have or are likely to have an annual economic impact of $100 … Continue Reading

Labor Department’s Interpretation of the FLSA’s “Suffer or Permit” Standard Triggers More Compliance Burdens for Government Contractors

The key word is “suffer.” Government contractors already face painful compliance burdens associated with the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, the proposed implementing regulations, and the Labor Department’s “Guidance” amplifying the proposed regulations.  Last week, the Department added another layer of complexity when it issued an Administrator’s Interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. … Continue Reading

U.S., U.K. Governments Seek Cyber Innovations from Private Sector

The private sector is likely to produce critical cyber innovations—at least, that is what the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (“DARPA”) and the U.K. Centre for Defence Enterprise (“CDE”) would like to see. In the United States, although the internet may have been invented at DARPA, DARPA is turning to a private sector competition to protect … Continue Reading

USAID Publishes Final Rule Extending Partner Vetting to Assistance Awards

On June 26, 2015, the United States Agency for International Development (“USAID”) published a final rule extending its pilot Partner Vetting System (“PVS”) program to assistance awards and cooperative agreements.  This final rule comes nearly two years after USAID issued a proposed rule applying PVS to USAID assistance and resembles USAID’s existing vetting program for … Continue Reading

OMB Issues Final Guidance Implementing FITARA

The Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) has issued final guidance (the “Guidance”) implementing the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA).  We have previously discussed FITARA’s requirements that seek to reform and streamline the Government’s information technology (“IT”) acquisitions, which account for approximately $80 billion in annual spending. At its core, the Guidance implements the … Continue Reading

FAR Council Issues Interim Rule Implementing LGBT Protections

On April 10, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council issued an interim rule “amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement Executive Order (E.O. 13672) . . . and a final rule issued by the Department of Labor.”  As we previously blogged, Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) final rule implements E.O. 13672 and effectively “prohibit[s] discrimination on … Continue Reading

Downloading An Operating System Does Not Substantially Transform Laptops for Purposes of U.S. Government Procurement

On March 16, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) issued a final country of origin determination that will be of interest to the consumer electronics device industry generally.  CBP ruled that under four different scenarios involving the manufacture and assembly of laptops abroad, downloading an operating system was not enough to change the computers’ country … Continue Reading

Controversial Cyber Information Sharing Bill May Impact Government Contractors

Following Obama’ s February 13, 2015 Executive Order to promote the sharing of cybersecurity risks and incidents between the federal government and the private sector, Congress has introduced a slew of information-sharing legislation.  Such legislation includes the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”), which was marked up and approved 14-1 by the Senate Intelligence … Continue Reading

IT Acquisitions and Operations Added to GAO’s List of High-Risk Programs

GAO has added IT Acquisitions and Operations to its list of programs it identifies as posing a high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.  This biennial list contains GAO’s analysis of newly- and previously-added high-risk programs and recommendations for improving their economy, efficiency, and effectiveness. In adding IT Acquisitions and Operations to this list, … Continue Reading

New SIGAR Audit Report Says . . . Very Little

On January 15, 2015, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (“SIGAR”) released a new report, Department of Defense: More Than 75 Percent of All SIGAR Audit and Inspection Report Recommendations Have Been Implemented (“SIGAR Report”).  At 86 pages, the SIGAR Report might be expected to robustly catalogue and analyze how the Department of Defense (“DOD”) … Continue Reading

Changes to Biofuels Provisions in House-Passed NDAA FY 15

On December 4, 2014, the House passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (“NDAA FY 15”) which is now up for debate in the Senate.  While the original House version of NDAA FY 15 contained a number of provisions relating to the procurement of biofuels, these biofuels provisions were … Continue Reading

Federal Information Technology Reform Act Included in the House-Passed NDAA FY 15

A major piece of IT acquisition reform legislation called the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (“FITARA”), on which we have previously reported, was included in version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (“NDAA FY 15”) passed by the House on December 4, 2014, along with other significant IT reform provisions related to … Continue Reading

Third Circuit Requires Actual Knowledge of Fraudulent Claim to Satisfy FCA’s “Direct” Knowledge Requirement

The Third Circuit recently ruled that a qui tam relator must have “direct knowledge” of the fraud or false statements at issue in order to satisfy the False Claims Act’s (“FCA”) “original source” jurisdictional requirement.  A relator fails to satisfy the direct knowledge requirement where his or her allegations are mere inferences based on the … Continue Reading

CSIS Report Exposes Dramatic Decreases in DOD Contract Spending in 2013

On October 15, 2014, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) released a report on U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) contract spending between 2000 and 2013. The report analyzes publicly available information from the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and thus does not consider classified contracts, which CSIS estimates to account for up to … Continue Reading

First Circuit Affirms $50 Million Tax Refund for FCA Settlement Payments

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the award of a $50 million tax refund to Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. The court agreed with Fresenius that certain payments in settlement of alleged False Claims Act violations were tax-deductible. The case is Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. v. United States, … Continue Reading

D.C. Circuit Dismisses FCA Suit & Provides Guidance for Contractor Reliance on Supplier Certifications

On August 29, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the dismissal of a qui tam suit under the False Claims Act (“FCA”) alleging that government contractor Govplace made false statements and false claims by selling to the Government, via its GSA schedule contract, computer and other products not originating in designated … Continue Reading

House introduces the “Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology Act”

Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) recently introduced the Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology (“RFP-IT”) Act. This Act is similar in many ways to earlier drafts of the FITARA bill on which we have previously reported, with a few notable differences. Among other things, the RFP-IT Act would: significantly increase the Simplified Acquisition Threshold for … Continue Reading
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