Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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Today, our colleagues Dick Oliver and David Dixon published their Client Alert titled Changes for Bid Protests in FY 2018 NDAAOn November 8, the U.S. Senate and House Armed Services Committees announced that they had reached an agreement to reconcile the different versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018 NDAA) passed by the Senate and House earlier in the year.

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California has taken a significant step in aligning its procurement expenditures with its vanguard climate change policy. On October 15, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 262, the Buy Clean California Act (Chapter 816, Statutes of 2017). Beginning in 2019, the state’s Department of General Services (DGS) is to establish maximum carbon emission levels for “eligible building materials,” consisting of carbon steel rebar, flat glass, mineral wool board insulation and structural steel. At that time, state agencies may only award contracts to bidders certifying that their sources of these materials meet the standard.

This legislation was supported by manufacturers that have invested heavily in emission reduction processes, along with labor unions and environmental organizations. The Brazilian firm Gerdau Steel, having made expensive upgrades to the only California steel mill and its other facilities, greeted the signing by saying the act will “level the playing field” against sources that have greater emissions from manufacturing and transportation.

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Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act imposes a proactive duty on businesses subject to the ADA to remove architectural barriers and other obstacles that impede disabled persons’ access to an existing public accommodation. For years, lawmakers have grappled with how to protect disabled persons and, at the same time, not overburden those subject to the ADA. The House of Representatives’ so-called ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 620) introduced earlier this year appears to be gaining some momentum after the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance it on September 7. Disabled persons interest groups are opposed to this bill, contending that it would chill businesses from being proactive about ensuring that disabled persons have access to their facilities.

In contrast, for years, businesses subject to the ADA have struggled to comply with the ADA and to contend with what they perceive as meritless complaints filed by drive-by plaintiffs alleging ADA violations without ever encountering a barrier to access. For new construction subject to the ADA, an occupancy permit issued by a local jurisdiction (or a building inspection), although not required to ensure ADA compliance, will often require review of the project for compliance with the accessibility requirements. Ensuring compliance with the access requirements for existing developments and redevelopments in many cases poses greater challenges because, as originally constructed, the structure may not have design features that are conducive to ADA compliance, requiring extraordinary expenditures to bring them into compliance.

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The endless variety of federal regulatory programs are subject to the requirements of federal administrative law, i.e., the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). The APA is chiefly the province of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. In a recent case involving the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) implementation of a clean energy loan program, the District Court believed, following the conclusion of hearings in the court, that appropriate redress would result if the complaint was remanded, at DOE’s request, for additional review by DOE. When those proceedings were unsuccessful, the District Court dismissed the complaint. The Court of Appeals has now ruled that the requested remand should not have been granted, consistent with earlier precedential rulings by the Court of Appeals.

On May 19, in Limnia, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Energy, the Court of Appeals, returning the matter to the District Court to resolve Limnia, Inc.’s challenge to DOE’s denial of its clean-energy loan applications, confirmed that although “[a] district court has broad discretion to decide whether and when to grant an agency’s request for a voluntary remand,” “a voluntary remand is typically appropriate only when the agency intends to revisit the challenged agency decision on review.” In Limnia, the DOE, instead, “offered to review any new applications Limnia chose to submit, assuming that Limnia remitted the then-required application fees” “even though a central allegation of Limnia’s complaint was that the Department had waived the application fee associated with the Loan Guarantee Program.

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In Federal Contractors Beware DHS Proposes Robust Cybersecurity Procurement Regulation to Safeguard Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), my colleague Brian Cruz and I discuss the proposed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) procurement regulation to safeguard CUI and its internal inconsistencies/ambiguities.

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This is the first post in an ongoing series of posts on real estate and construction lending. Check back soon for more posts in our series.

In New York, contractors must be careful to file the correct type of lien to ensure they will be paid for their labor and/or materials. State law provides for two distinct liens: (1) a mechanic’s lien for labor or materials provided for private real property, and (2) a public improvement lien for labor or materials provided for public improvements. Knowing which lien applies is important at the beginning of the filing process, as there are significant differences in the coverage and requirements for each.

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On March 14, U.S. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth granted Halliburton’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Mr. Barko’s claims against Halliburton, filed under the False Claims Act (FCA), which, along the way, resulted in important rulings protecting the attorney client privilege. The case is United States of America ex rel. Harry Barko v. Halliburton Company, et al. As a result of Judge Lamberth’s ruling, this long and protracted litigation may be nearing an end after twelve years and several decision by the federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Below is a brief summary of the Office of Management and Budget’s recently issued “America First, A budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.”  The Blueprint only provides details on discretionary spending proposals. The full budget, to be released later this spring, will include specific tax proposals and a “full fiscal path.”

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Yesterday, the White House published a Presidential Executive Order on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, after a period of review and consultation with the agencies, to propose a plan to streamline the federal government’s executive agencies, both reorganizing governmental functions and eliminating unnecessary agencies. It may take a year to formulate.

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In Great Expectations,  DOJ holds anti-corruption compliance programs to a high standard in evaluating their credibility, our colleagues Bill Sullivan, Nancy Fischer, Aaron Hutman and Fabio Leonardi discuss the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) February 8 release of a list of important topics and sample questions that the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section has frequently found relevant in evaluating the adequacy of a corporate compliance program. The new guidance is intended to assist ethics and compliance officers in crafting effective corporate compliance policies and procedures, and signals how DOJ’s new compliance expert, Hui Chen, is expected to assess a company’s compliance program.