Covington Team

Subscribe to all posts by Covington Team

CIA Torture Case Is A Cautionary Tale for Contractors on The Battlefield

By Alex L. Sarria and Marianne F. Kies The recent settlement of a noteworthy “contractor-on-the-battlefield” case should serve as a cautionary tale to government contractors that perform high-risk work in support of military operations. In Suleiman Abdullah Salim v. James E. Mitchell and John Jessen, No. CV-15-0286, three foreign plaintiffs filed Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) claims … Continue Reading

NIST Releases Fifth Revision of Special Publication 800-53

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) released on August 15, 2017 its proposed update to Special Publication (“SP”) 800-53. NIST SP 800-53, which was last revised in 2014, provides information security standards and guidelines, including baseline control requirements, for implementation on federal information systems under the Federal Information Systems Management Act of 2002 … Continue Reading

A Summary of the Recently Introduced “Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2017”

On August 1, 2017, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced legislation (fact sheet) that would establish minimum cybersecurity standards for Internet of Things (“IoT”) devices sold to the U.S. Government. As Internet-connected devices become increasingly ubiquitous and susceptible to evolving and complex cyber threats, the proposed bill attempts to safeguard the security of executive agencies’ … Continue Reading

ASBCA Issues Important Ruling in “Contractor-on-the-Battlefield” Dispute

Earlier this month, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals held that the U.S. Army breached its contractual obligation to provide physical security to its principal logistical support contractor, KBR, during the height of the Iraq War.  As a consequence, the Board found that KBR was entitled to be reimbursed for $44 million, plus interest, … Continue Reading

Common Sense Prevails: “Tougher” To Satisfy Rule 9(b) Standard in “Implied Certification” FCA Case Arising from GSA Schedule Contractors’ Alleged TAA Non-Compliance

A U.S. District Court recently dismissed a False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam action alleging that numerous GSA Schedule contractors violated their obligations under the Trade Agreements Act (TAA), resulting in the submission of false claims under the “implied certification” theory of FCA liability.  As discussed further below, the court’s decision — United States ex rel. Berkowitz … Continue Reading

ASBCA Shoots Down DCAA Overreach on Responsibility to Manage Subcontractors

A prime contractor is responsible for managing its subcontractors, but what exactly does that require? In a recent decision, the answer of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals was: not nearly as much as DCAA claimed. In Lockheed Martin Integrated Sys., Inc., ASBCA Nos. 59508, 59509, the Board ruled on a Government claim seeking … Continue Reading

A self-effectuating deemed release of claims? Say it ain’t so.

A few weeks ago, we provided a few tips for negotiating and assessing a release contained in a contract modification, and discussed why the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) found that a global release contained in one of many contract modification was ambiguous. Now, we consider a different scenario: what happens when a final … Continue Reading

Updated OMB Breach Response Policy Includes Required Breach-Related Provisions for Federal Agency Contracts

On Monday, our colleague Caleb Skeath posted on Inside Privacy an engaging article that discusses the new Office of Management and Budget policy setting forth minimum standards for federal agencies in preparing for and responding to breaches of personally identifiable information (PII) and the expected contractual changes that agencies will impose on contractors whose systems … Continue Reading

New FAR Rule Encourages “Constructive Exchanges” between Federal Agencies and Contractors

On November 29, 2016, the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration proposed an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) aiming to encourage pre-acquisition communications between industry professionals and federal agencies.  This amendment is part of a five-year long effort by the Obama Administration to clarify that communications … Continue Reading

GSA Leaves Many Questions Unanswered, As Industry Assesses The New Transactional Data Reporting Rule

We recently wrote about GSA’s new Transactional Data Reporting (“TDR”) pilot program, which requires participating Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contractors to report 11 items of transactional data to GSA each month. The TDR rule also eliminates the requirement to provide a Commercial Sales Practices (“CSP”) format as well as the Price Reductions Clause.  As we … Continue Reading

ASBCA Addresses CDA Jurisdiction Over Claims Involving Contractor Fraud

The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“ASBCA” or the “Board”) recently issued an opinion addressing several important, and controversial, topics of interest to government contractors.  The lengthy opinion addressed key issues related to the Board’s jurisdiction over government claims and affirmative defenses based on alleged contractor fraud, the Contract Disputes Act (“CDA”) statute of limitations, … Continue Reading

The CBCA Chews Up Agency’s Erroneous Allegation that Contractor Is Getting a ‘Second Bite at the Apple’

At the intersection of bid protests and claims, in Optimum Services, Inc. v. Department of the Interior, CBCA 4968 (May 2, 2016), the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (“CBCA” or “Board”) recently encountered the question of whether a decision by the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) can preclude a contractor from later maintaining an appeal of … Continue Reading

DoD Rule Would Help Contractors Protect Their Technical Data Rights in Commercial Items Used in Major Systems

The Department of Defense (DoD) is considering a proposed rule that would help contractors protect their technical data rights in privately-developed commercial items that are incorporated into major systems, including major weapons systems. The proposed rule likely will be welcomed news to the defense industry, which has long sought to defend contractors’ intellectual property rights … Continue Reading

Contractor’s Timely Notice to the CO of an ‘Intent to Appeal’ is Good Enough for the ASBCA

A recent decision from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) serves as an important reminder that a contractor’s timely notification to the contracting officer (CO) of its intent to appeal a CO’s final decision will satisfy the Board’s 90-day deadline for filing appeals under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA). Although the facts of … Continue Reading

FTC and DoJ Question DoD’s Proposed National Security Trump Card

In an apparent reaction to recent efforts by the Department of Defense to obtain authority to approve mergers in the defense industry on national security grounds, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission today issued a Joint Statement explaining the standard of review that the antitrust agencies use when evaluating proposed transactions in … Continue Reading

Defense Contractors Must Share (Even More) Information About Their IR&D Projects Before DoD Will Reimburse IR&D Costs

The Department of Defense (DoD) will require contractors to disclose more information about their Independent Research & Development (IR&D) projects before the Government will reimburse IR&D costs, the Pentagon said in a proposed rule issued earlier this week.  The proposed rule, which was previewed in an August 2015 white paper, is the latest sign that … 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

DoD To Reconsider How It Evaluates Proposed IR&D Projects In Awarding Government Contracts

The Department of Defense (DoD) is considering a proposed rule that would prevent defense contractors from promising future Independent Research & Development (IR&D) investments as a way to gain a competitive price advantage in DoD procurements.  Although DoD’s rulemaking is in its early stages, defense contractors with substantial IR&D programs should monitor these developments closely, … Continue Reading

FAR Council Adds New Layer to Small Business Subcontracting Rules

On January 20, 2016, the FAR Council published a proposed rule calling for changes to FAR Parts 19 and 52 that address payments to small business subcontractors.  The proposed changes, which are intended to implement regulations adopted by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in 2013, will expand the range of small business-related obligations imposed on … Continue Reading

No Money for Nothing — Eighth Circuit Limits Relators’ Ability to Recover a Share of Government Settlements of Qui Tam Suits

Following an 8-2 en banc decision issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit earlier this month, potential relators may think twice before bringing their False Claims Act (“FCA”) qui tam suits in the Eighth Circuit.  In Rille v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 11-3514 (8th Cir. Oct. 5, 2015), the Court vacated a … Continue Reading

No Cost Contract Award is No Problem According to GAO

In a procurement that will result in the award of a fixed-price contract, contractors have the choice to price their offers below their expected costs. This approach can provide a substantial competitive advantage when a contractor believes the tangential benefits of a contract award will exceed the excess costs of performance. But how far below … Continue Reading

National Security M&A Trump Card for DoD?

The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, & Logistics, Frank Kendall, made seismic remarks last week announcing that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will seek independent authority from Congress to approve or disapprove M&A transactions in the defense industrial base for national security reasons, creating potential shock waves among the companies in that … Continue Reading

DoD IR&D Projects May Not Be So “Independent” For Long

Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a white paper announcing that, beginning in FY2017, it will require contractors to notify DoD before undertaking any new Independent Research & Development (IR&D) projects. Contractors also will be required to inform DoD of “the results from these investments.” The white paper acknowledges that these requirements are a departure … Continue Reading

Updated DoD IG Guidance Signals New Enforcement Emphasis for DCAA Auditors

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (“DoD IG”) appears poised to place new emphasis on the pursuit of fraud cases in certain key enforcement areas, at least according to updated agency guidance recently published online. Earlier this month, the DoD IG quietly revised its “Auditor Fraud Resources” page, intended to serve as guidance … Continue Reading
LexBlog