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Government Contracts Case Summaries

[02/16] Roy Allan Slurry Seal, Inc. v. American Asphalt South, Inc.
In a government contracts dispute alleging the tort of intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, the Court of Appeals judgment overturning the trial court's judgment sustaining defendants demurrer, is reversed where plaintiffs' allegations -- that they had submitted the second lowest bids on several contracts awarded to defendant, and that their bids would have been accepted but for defendant's wrongful conduct during the bidding process -- are insufficient because: 1) public works contracts are a unique species of commercial dealings; 2) in the contracts at issue here, the public entities retained broad discretion to reject all bids; 3) the bids were sealed, and there were no postsubmission negotiations; 4) in awarding the contracts, the public entities could give no preference to any bidder based on past dealings, and were required to accept the lowest responsible bid; and 5) in these highly regulated circumstances, plaintiffs had 'at most a hope for an economic relationship and a desire for future benefit.' Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 331.

[02/06] Agility Defense & Government Servs., Inc. v. US
In a government contractor's claim for an equitable adjustment arising out of its fixed price indefinite delivery contract with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)?s Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS), the Court of Federal Claims' denial of the claim is reversed where: 1) the Claims Court's findings that DRMS did not inadequately or negligently prepare its estimates and that Agility did not rely on those estimates are clearly erroneous; and 2) Plaintiff?s receipt of scrap sales and the parties' agreement to clause H.19 do not preclude plaintiff from recovering under this claim.

[01/24] Hudson v. Super. Ct.
In a petition to set aside a indictment under Penal Code section 995, involving an alleged violation of Government Code section 1090, which prohibits members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees from entering into contracts, in an official capacity, in which they are financially interested, the petition is granted in part where the petition succeeds as to issues concerning the rule set forth in In re Williamson (1954) 43 Cal.2d 651, but it fails with respect to petitioner's complaints about the People's allegations regarding tolling of the statute of limitation.

[01/12] US ex rel. Kelly v. Serco, Inc.
In an action under the False Claims Act, alleging that plaintiff's former employer submitted fraudulent claims for payment to the United States for work done under a government contract, specifically the Advanced Wireless Systems Spectrum Relocation Project, a project to upgrade the wireless communications systems situated along the US-Mexico border for the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (DHS), the district court's summary judgment in favor of defendant is affirmed where plaintiff did not satisfy the standard for materiality set forth in Universal Health Servs., Inc. v. USex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016) because there was no genuine issue of material fact as to the materiality of Serco's compliance with the American National Standards Institute/Electronic Industries Alliance Standard 748 (ANSI-748) or its obligation to provide valid earned value management (EVM) reports.

[01/09] Masso-Torrellas v. Municipality of Toa Alta
In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action arising out of contracts for the construction of a municipal transportation terminal, the district court's dismissal is affirmed where,although it erred by holding that the mediation/arbitration clause applied to the section 1983 claim: 1) the section 1983 claim should be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim; and thus 2) there is also no supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims.

[12/01] Frankel v. US
In a government contracts action challenging the results of the FTC's 'Robocall Challenge,' a prize competition for 'creat[ing] innovative solutions to block illegal robocalls, the Court of Federal Claims' grant of summary judgment to defendant is affirmed where: 1) the relationship between a contestant and sponsoring agency arising out of the prize competition statute, 15 U.S.C. section 3719, is a contractual offer by a sponsor and entry by a contestant is an acceptance; 2) the contract at issue was not a procurement contract and plaintiff lacked standing to enjoin the result under 28 U.S.C. section 1491(b); and 3) plaintiff is unable to show fraud, and the contract's liability clause bars suit.

[12/01] US v. Murshed
Convictions and sentences for misuse of food stamp benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are affirmed but remanded for the trial court to consider whether the significant effect of the loss enhancement in relation to the low base offense level should result in a non-Guidelines sentence.

[11/22] Papp v. Fore-Kast Sales Co Inc.
In a failure-to-warn product liability suit against Boeing, alleging that plaintiff's late wife was made ill by exposure to asbestos from a Boeing aircraft, the District Court's grant of plaintiff's motion to remand the case back to state court after Boeing had removed to federal court, is reversed where the federal officer removal statute extends to contractors who possess a colorable federal defense, and that Boeing made a sufficient showing of such a defense at the time of removal.

[11/16] Rocky Mountain Helium, LLC v. US
In a suit against the U.S. asserting breach of two contracts concerning plaintiff's potential extraction of helium from beneath federal lands, the1994 Helium Contract and the 2008 Settlement Agreement, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims' finding of lack of jurisdiction over both claims and, in the alternative, dismissed the Helium Contract claim on the merits, is: 1) reversed in part as to the jurisdictional dismissal of the Helium Contract claim, but affirmed as to the merits dismissal of that claim; and 2) reversed as to the jurisdictional dismissal of the Settlement Agreement claim and remanded for further proceedings on that claim.

[09/12] Nutt v. US
In a claim brought under the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) by the surviving spouse and estate of a man killed by an Army soldier driving an Army truck, the Court of Federal Claims grant of the government's motion for summary judgment is affirmed where the government did not breach an agreement to pay a claim.

[08/26] Liberty Ammunition, Inc. v. US
In an intellectual property action, the Court of Federal Claims decision that the U.S. Army's use of ammunition rounds embodies the claims of plaintiff's patent is reversed where two of plaintiff's claim constructions are unsupported by the intrinsic record. The Court further found the trial court did not commit clear error in determining that an Army official did not have authority to enter into a non-disclosure agreement with plaintiff.

[08/22] Jones v. Dep't of Health and Human Services
In an action brought by a retired veteran under the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 U.S.C. sections 4301-4333 (2012), seeking review after defendant agency did not select him for various job openings, the Merit Systems Protection Board administrative judge (AJ)'s denial of his requested relief is affirmed where: 1) the court has subject matter jurisdiction where a petition for review is filed before an AJ's initial decision becomes final but ripens during the appeal; and 2) petitioner's various other claims of legal and factual error are denied.

[08/18] Piszel v. US
In an action arising out of plaintiff's termination as CFO of Freddie Mac, alleging that the government's refusal to pay a contractual severance payment under the 'golden parachute' prohibition of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), 12 U.S.C. section 4511(a)(1) et seq.,constituted a wrongful taking and illegal exaction, the Claims Court's dismissal for failure to state a claim is affirmed where plaintiff had a cognizable property interest in his contract right to a severance payment, but failed to state a takings claim or an illegal exaction claim because he could have filed a breach of contract claim against the government.

[08/18] California-American Water Co. v. Marina Coast Water Dist.
In a government contracts action, arising out of an agreement between defendant public agencies and plaintiff water company to collaborate on a water desalination project, the trial court's judgment that four of the five agreement were void due to a conflict of interest of a public agency board member is affirmed. The Court held that a public agency is not bound by Government Code section 1090's sixty-day limitation period when seeking judicial determination of the validity of a contract.

[08/17] Zafer Taahhut Insaat ve Ticaret A.S. v. US
In an appeal from the U.S. Court of Federal Claims's grant of summary judgment that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not constructively change the terms of its contract with plaintiff, and the denial of plaintiff's motion to supplement the record with several newspaper articles, the Claims court decisions are affirmed where plaintiff failed to designate specific facts to establish a constructive change claim based on either a constructive acceleration theory or on a government fault theory.

[07/15] Laguna Constr. Co. Inc. v. Carter
In an action brought by a company that was awarded a government contract in 2003 to perform work in Iraq, seeking reimbursement of past costs at the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Board's grant of summary judgment to the government is affirmed where plaintiff committed the first material breach by violating the contract's Allowable Cost and Payment clause, thereby excusing the government's nonperformance.

[07/12] Coast Professional, Inc. v. US
In a dispute arising out of government contracts for student debt collection services, the Court of Federal Claims decision dismissing plaintiffs' claims against the government for lack of jurisdiction is reversed where the Court of Federal Claims erred in concluding that the award-term Task Orders were not new Task Orders for purposes of section 1491(b)(1).

[06/08] Caltex Plastics, Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp.
In a suit alleging breach of contract and unfair competition against Lockheed Martin Corporation, arising from contracts between Lockheed and the federal government, the District Court's dismissal for failure to state a claim is affirmed where: 1) the issue of whether plaintiff may sue defendant based upon defendant's contracts with the federal government is governed by federal common law, rather than state law, because the uniquely federal interest in the liability of defense contractors to third parties is sufficiently dominant to demand a uniform, federal rule; and 2) plaintiff did not sufficiently allege that it is an intended third-party beneficiary of the contracts between defendant and the federal government.

[05/25] US ex rel. Ladas v. Exelis, Inc.
In a qui tam action under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. sections 3729 et seq., alleging fraud in representations made to the United States in connection with certain equipment supplied to the government pursuant to a procurement contract, the District Court's dismissal is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff did not plead the fraud claims with sufficient particularity; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to amend.

[05/24] Northrop Grumman Computing Sys., Inc. v. US
In a case involving plaintiff's contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to supply and support network monitoring software produced by a third party, under which plaintiff would furnish the software and services via a lease for one base year and three option years, the Court of Federal Claims' grant of summary judgment to the Government is affirmed over plaintiff's challenge to the Government's decision not to exercise the first option year, on grounds that the Government breached the contract by failing to use its best effort to secure funding, where plaintiff failed to show any harm resulting from its claim that the Government had breached the contract.

[05/06] DG21, LLC v. Mabus
In an appeal of the decision of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals denying an appeal from the final decision of the contracting officer denying plaintiff an equitable adjustment to account for escalated fuel costs under a government contract, the Board's decision is affirmed where the Board did not err in denying the request for an equitable adjustment for increased fuel costs because the contract specifically states that plaintiff would purchase fuel "at the prevailing DoD rate at the time of purchase," and plaintiff was only charged that prevailing DoD rate for fuel, and does not contend otherwise.

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