Articles Posted in Government Contracts

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Today, our colleagues John Jensen, Dick Oliver, David Dixon and Alex Ginsberg published their Alert titled Defenders of the Debriefing, New DoD rules enhance contractors’ post-award debriefing rights. Takeaways include:

  • New rules for all Department of Defense (DoD) agencies expand offerors’ rights in connection with post-award debriefings in federal procurements.
  • Offerors now have 2 business days to submit questions to agencies after their debriefings begin, and the debriefings are not concluded until the agencies answer those questions, which they must do in writing within 5 business days.
  • The protest clock for a disappointed offeror only begins to run after the agency answers the offeror’s questions.

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The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued its Directive (DIR) 2018-01 as part of ongoing efforts to increase transparency of preliminary findings with federal contractors, and to achieve consistency across regional and district offices, standardizing the use of Predetermination Notices (PDN). A PDN is a letter that OFCCP uses to inform federal contractors and subcontractors (contractors) of OFCCP’s preliminary findings of employment discrimination. Directive 2018-01 provides a uniform protocol for OFCCP staff to follow for using PDNs in both individual and systemic discrimination cases.

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Our colleague John Jensen recently published his Alert titled Proposals Should Carefully Address Pending Corporate Deals Lockheed Martin’s recent success in overcoming GAO protests shows that fully explaining a transaction in the works can be a key proposal element. In the Alert, John discusses the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recently announced denial of three protests filed by disappointed offerors Enterprise Services LLC, Accenture Federal Services LLC and CSRA LLC challenging the Social Security Administration’s award of an IT contract to Lockheed Martin Corp.

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On February 26, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed, for lack of jurisdiction, a challenge to the President’s Executive Order 13771, and two guidance documents issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that instruct the affected federal agencies on how to administer EO 13771. The case is Public Citizen, Inc., et al., v. Trump. However, the District Court stated it would hold another hearing (on March 1, 2018) to determine whether it should dismiss the complaint outright or give the plaintiffs an opportunity to amend their pleading.

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Recently, the Trump Administration released a 53-page Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America of legislative proposals to rebuild American infrastructure, which it defines as surface transportation, airports, passenger rail, ports and waterways, flood control, water supply, hydropower, water resources drinking water and waste water facilities, storm water facilities, and surprisingly, Brownfield and Superfund sites. Infrastructure projects can be located in both urban and rural areas.

The proposal lists specific laws that will require amendments, and would make available billions of dollars in federal funds to trigger the process. This is a brief review of its many provisions.

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Today, our colleagues Michael Rizzo, Glenn Sweat and John Jensen published their Alert titled The 2018 Government Shutdown – How Can Contractors Preserve Rights? Takeways from the Alert include:

  • Communicate with your Contracting Officers early and often regarding approvals and responses to inquiries.
  • Analyze current contracts. Assess contract funding levels, determine which contracts which must continue, and become familiar with Suspension of Work, Stop Work, and Government Delay of Work clauses.
  • Minimize financial damage and maintain continuity of operations and high employee morale.

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On November 20, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided the case of Cox, et al., v. Duke Energy, Inc. et al., affirming the ruling of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina’s grant of the defendants’ motion for summary judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights lawsuit, holding

“(1) that Fleming had validly waived his right to sue the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office, the Sheriff, and the deputies; (2) that Duke Energy and its vice president were private actors not operating “under color of” state law as required for liability under § 1983; and (3) that Fleming’s remaining state law claims were preempted by federal law’s exclusive regulation of nuclear safety.”

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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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