Many government contractors are familiar with the well-established processes of federal bid protests. Less known is the dizzying variety of procedures applicable to state and local bid protests, and a rule that is well-established in one jurisdiction may be nonexistent in another. Although there are some unifying themes that pervade protest practice everywhere — namely, fairness and rationality — it is important to understand how those themes are understood and applied in the relevant jurisdiction.
On May 5, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (“CISA”) Information and Communications Technology (“ICT”) Supply Chain Risk Management (“SCRM”) Task Force (the “Task Force”) released a six-step guide for organizations to start implementing organizational SCRM practices to improve their overall security resilience. The Task Force also released a revised fact sheet to further raise awareness about ICT supply chain risk.
As we discussed in a prior blog post on the Task Force’s efforts, the Task Force was established in 2018 with representatives from 17 different defense and civilian agencies, as well as industry representatives across the information technology and communications sectors. The Task Force has been focused on assessing and protecting security vulnerabilities in government supply chains. Since its founding, the Task Force has inventoried existing SCRM efforts across the government and industry, including some of the practices reflected in the guide. Continue Reading
The government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic implicates a host of authorities of interest to contractors, from those under the Stafford Act to its recently invoked Defense Production Act powers. The government has another critical, and perhaps under-examined, set of tools at its disposal to meet the demands of the pandemic: FAR Part 18, “Emergency Acquisitions,” catalogues authorities that give the government greater ability to acquire goods in a streamlined, accelerated manner. Contractors should take note of FAR Part 18 given the government’s urgent needs for COVID-19 related supplies and services.
Defense Department leaders and agencies have been granted much-needed flexibility to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment Ellen Lord delegated approval authority for Other Transaction Agreements (“OTs”) related to the coronavirus response, consistent with Section 13006 of the CARES Act. Continue Reading
The Fourth Circuit recently rejected a trial court’s ruling that a contractor’s mandatory disclosure submission waived its attorney-client privilege over the underlying internal investigation. In re Fluor Intercontinental, Inc., No. 20-1241 (Mar. 25, 2020) (per curiam). The court granted Fluor’s mandamus petition and directed the district court to vacate its orders requiring Fluor to produce privileged information from its internal investigation relating to the subject matter of four statements in its mandatory disclosure submission. Id. at 1. In doing so, the Fourth Circuit confirmed that “Government contractors should not fear waiving attorney-client privilege” when making mandatory disclosures. It also curtailed an outlier ruling and provided reassurances to other corporations and individuals who routinely make similar disclosures and fact proffers to the government. Continue Reading
Contractors sidelined by facility closures and stay-at-home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic may now have a new pathway to recovering idle labor costs. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act includes a provision, Section 3610, that provides a new form of relief for contractors facing delays and additional costs as a result of employees being unable to work due to quarantine restrictions.
Recent legislation significantly expanded many workers’ entitlement to paid sick leave and paid family leave. These new benefits take effect on April 1st. Our employment and benefits experts have described those requirements in a series of posts, including overviews here and here, and New York-specific considerations here. Federal government contractors should pay particular attention to these new benefits and the way they interact with other paid sick leave requirements. Continue Reading
The Department of Health and Human Services published a notice on March 30, 2020 — effective March 25, 2020 — designating certain COVID-19-related personal protective equipment (“PPE”) and materials as “scarce” or “threatened” materials subject to the Defense Production Act’s (“DPA”) anti-hoarding provisions. As a result of this notice, the DPA now prohibits the accumulation of these materials in excess of reasonable demands of business, personal, or home consumption. The notice also results in a prohibition of the accumulation of these materials for the purpose of resale at prices in excess of the prevailing market rate.
Following up on our post earlier this week giving a general overview of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (“DPA”), 50 U.S.C. §§4501 et seq., this post comments on President Trump’s March 18, 2020 Executive Order on Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of COVID-19 (the “COVID-19 E.O.”) and provides some key considerations that companies should keep in mind if they are concerned about receiving prioritized or rated contracts or allocation orders or directives under the DPA. Continue Reading
As a result of novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and COVID-19, federal and state governments have a sudden and unanticipated need for more goods and services. Some of those goods and services are highly specialized and specific to Coronavirus and COVID-19. But governments also have an increased and urgent need to buy otherwise-routine goods and services that have become newly critical in the wake of COVID-19.
All of this means that there are and will be procurements where speed is the priority, and where there is no time for the normal pace and cadence of the procurement process and contract formation. It also means that resources necessarily will get taken away from routine procurement tasks and reallocated to urgent matters.
Here are a few things to watch for: