Justia Government Contracts Opinion Summaries
United Blower, et al. v Lycoming Water & Sewer
In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted review to determine whether the Commonwealth Court properly calculated the “cost” of steel products under the Steel Products Procurement Act (“Steel Act” or “the Act”), which required that “75% of the cost of the articles, materials and supplies [of a steel product] have been mined, produced or manufactured” in the United States. G. M. McCrossin, Inc. (“McCrossin”), a contracting and construction management firm, served as the general contractor for the Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority (“Authority”) on a project known as the Montoursville Regional Sewer System Waste Water Treatment Plan, Phase I Upgrade (“Project”). In July 2011, McCrossin entered into an agreement with the Authority to supply eight air blower assemblies, which move air from one area to another inside the waste treatment facility. United Blower, Inc. (“UBI”), became a subcontractor on the Project. UBI was to supply the eight blowers required by the original specifications and was to replace the three digestive blowers as required by a change order. UBI prepared a submittal for the blowers which McCrossin in turn submitted to the Authority’s Project engineer, Brinjac Engineering (“Brinjac”). As part of the submittal, McCrossin provided Brinjac and the Authority with a form, which verified that 75% of the cost of the blowers was attributable to articles, materials, and supplies (“AMSs”) that were mined, produced, or manufactured in the United States. The total amount McCrossin paid UBI for the blower assemblies and digestive blowers was $239,800. The amount paid by the Authority to McCrossin for these items was $243,505. Authority employees began to question whether McCrossin and UBI provided products that complied with the Steel Act. The Supreme Court held the Commonwealth Court improperly calculated the cost of the steel products at issue, thereby reversing and remanding for further proceedings. View "United Blower, et al. v Lycoming Water & Sewer" on Justia Law
New West, L.P. v. Fudge
Joliet condemned a housing complex managed by New West and paid $15 million. HUD rent subsidies for low-income tenants provided almost all of the money for operating the development. A $2.7 million fund had been established by New West and HUD, to cover necessary maintenance and repairs in the event of a default by New West. HUD refused to release that account to New West, contending that it now holds the account to cover Joliet’s obligations.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the summary judgment rejection of New West’s suit to recover the account. New West cannot establish conversion of the fund without first establishing ownership. HUD’s lien on the fund does not establish ownership of the fund and New West has not established its ownership by showing that it treated deposits into the fund as taxable income. View "New West, L.P. v. Fudge" on Justia Law
United States v. Percoco et al.
In 2012, then-Governor Cuomo launched the "Buffalo Billion” initiative to develop the greater Buffalo area through the investment of $1 billion in taxpayer funds. A big-rigging scheme ensued with respect to state-funded projects. Four defendants were convicted of various counts of conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1349, wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1343, and making false statements to federal officers, 18 U.S.C. 1001(a)(2).The Second Circuit affirmed, rejecting challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the charged wire fraud conspiracies, the instructions to the jury regarding the right-to-control theory of wire fraud and the good faith defense, the preclusion of evidence regarding the success of the projects awarded to defendants through the rigged bidding system and the admission of evidence from competitors regarding the range of fees typically charged by other companies in the market, and the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss Gerardi's false statement charge for alleged prosecutorial misconduct. Evidence of actual economic harm is not necessary for conviction in "right-to-control" cases, which require "a showing that the defendant, through the withholding or inaccurate reporting of information that could impact on economic decisions, deprived some person or entity of potentially valuable economic information." View "United States v. Percoco et al." on Justia Law
Human Rights Defense Center v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC et al.
Between 2010 and 2015, pursuant to a contract with the Vermont Department of Corrections (DOC), Wellpath, LLC assumed responsibility for providing medical care to every person in state custody within Vermont. Pursuant to the Vermont’s Public Records Act (PRA), plaintiff Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) requested from Wellpath any records relating to legal actions and settlements arising from this care. Wellpath declined to furnish the requested records, arguing that, as a private contractor, it was not subject to the PRA’s disclosure requirements. HRDC brought the instant suit, and the trial court entered judgment for Wellpath. The Vermont Supreme Court found the language of the PRA was unambiguous: "where the state contracts with a private entity to discharge the entirety of a fundamental and uniquely governmental obligation owed to its citizens, that entity acts as an 'instrumentality' of the State. ... But because here, for five years, Wellpath was the sole means through which the constitutional imperative that the DOC provide healthcare to those it incarcerates was carried out, Wellpath became an 'instrumentality' of the state, and was thus subject to the disclosure obligations of the PRA." Judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Human Rights Defense Center v. Correct Care Solutions, LLC et al." on Justia Law
Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), alleging that Planned Parenthood violated Iowa law by dispensing extra cycles of oral contraceptives without a physician’s order and that Planned Parenthood illegally billed Iowa Medicaid Enterprise (IME) for post-abortion related procedures.The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Planned Parenthood, concluding that plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead with particularity, pursuant to the heightened pleading standards of the FCA, her claim regarding the dispensing of oral contraceptives. Furthermore, even if plaintiff is right that Planned Parenthood submitted a false claim or statement as to Patients C, D, E and F, she fails to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact over whether those claims and statements were knowingly false. View "Thayer v. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Inc." on Justia Law
Ex parte Jefferson County Board of Education.
The Jefferson County Board of Education ("the Board") petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Jefferson Circuit Court to dismiss the action brought against the Board by Alabama Lockers, LLC. Alabama Lockers provided services regarding school lockers. In July 2020, Alabama Lockers sued the Board, alleging breach of contract. Alabama Lockers also alleged that the Board had failed to follow both "state bid laws" and its own policies and procedures regarding bidding on locker-services contracts. In September 2020, the Board filed a motion to dismiss, asserting, in relevant part, that Alabama Lockers' action was barred by State immunity. "Because county boards of education are local agencies of the State, they are clothed in constitutional immunity from suit." Thus, the Board, as a county board of education, was entitled to State immunity in this case. Accordingly, the Board established a clear legal right to have the action against it dismissed. View "Ex parte Jefferson County Board of Education." on Justia Law
Smith v. CSRA, Inc.
In 2013, Smith began working with DEA as a subcontractor in the geospatial intelligence program. Smith has a disability that adversely affects her mobility; she was granted accommodations. In 2015, Smith was authorized to work remotely 50 percent of the time. Through 2017, Smith received positive performance reviews. Smith’s position did not change in 2016 when CRSA became the prime contractor. In 2017, Quinn, DEA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator became dissatisfied when Smith was unable to answer questions about the Program. Quinn directed that Smith begin reporting to DEA headquarters. Smith lobbied to maintain her remote work arrangement. DEA officials did not respond to Smith’s request but, because of parking and transportation problems, Smith intermittently continued to work remotely despite notification that she was not authorized to do so. DEA concluded it could not grant the request; the CSRA contract did not expressly provide for remote work and DEA’s building lease limited the issuance of parking passes to employees. DEA alleges that it developed concerns about Smith’s technical skills and performance.DEA officials retrieved the equipment that supported Smith’s remote access and revoked Smith’s security clearance. CSRA terminated the Consultant Agreement. Smith sued, alleging disability discrimination and retaliation under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 791, against DEA, and violations of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA, 42 U.S.C. 12101, against CSRA. The district court rejected the claims on summary judgment.The Fourth Circuit affirmed as to Smith’s disability discrimination claim but vacated as to her retaliation claim. Smith was an independent contractor and not a CSRA employee. DEA was not required to offer Smith a remote work accommodation and its failure to do so was not a refusal to accommodate but Smith established a prima facie case of retaliation. View "Smith v. CSRA, Inc." on Justia Law
Brawner Builders, Inc. v. Maryland State Highway Administration
The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals (MSBCA) granting summary disposition as to the Maryland State Highway Administration's (SHA) claims against Brawner Builders, Inc. and Faddis Concrete Products, Inc., holding that there was no error in the MSBCA's decision to grant SHA's motion for summary decision.SHA and Brawner entered into a contract for the construction of noise barriers along a section of interstate. Faddis manufactured noise wall panels for Brawner's use in connection with the project. SHA subsequently suspended approval of Faddis-produced noise panels. Faddis filed a procurement contract claim. The MSBCA issued summary disposition to the SHA, concluding that Faddis had no standing to file such a claim. At issue on appeal was whether Faddis's status as a "pre-approved supplier" of concrete panels on construction projects administered by the SHA constituted a "procurement contract" with the State under the State Finance and Procurement Article. The circuit court reversed. The court of special appeals reversed the circuit court. The court of Special Appeals affirmed, holding that the MSBCA properly dismissed Faddis's claims and entered judgment in SHA's favor. View "Brawner Builders, Inc. v. Maryland State Highway Administration" on Justia Law
DynCorp International, LLC v. United States
In 2017 the Army issued a logistics support services solicitation, to award several indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts—each covering services among six geographic commands, plus Afghanistan. Contracting officers often must discuss deficiencies and significant weaknesses in proposals with offerors before proposals are final. When an offeror proposes a price that is unreasonably high, the government must discuss that unreasonableness with the offeror, potentially giving it a chance to revise its proposal. If the price is too high yet not unreasonable, the government need not discuss it. As a result. an offeror whose initial proposal is unreasonably priced may fare better than one whose is not. Six firms sought to perform the Army’s logistics work. DynCorp lost. Its prices were higher than the others; its proposed technical approach was worse. After balancing four proposal-evaluation factors, none of which DynCorp was best on, the Army went with other offerors.The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of DynCorp’s bid protest, rejecting an argument that the price it gave the Army was so high as to be unreasonable—and that the Army should have concluded as much and given it the opportunity to revise its proposed approach. The court found no error in the Army’s price-reasonableness analysis. View "DynCorp International, LLC v. United States" on Justia Law
Prose v. Molina Healthcare of Illinois,
Molina Healthcare contracted with the Illinois Medicaid program to provide multiple tiers of medical-service plans with scaled capitation rates (fixed per-patient fees that cover all services within the plan’s scope). The Nursing Facility plan required Molina to provide Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) services. Molina subcontracted with GenMed to cover that obligation. Molina received a general capitation payment from the state, out of which it was to pay GenMed for the SNF component. Molina breached its contract with GenMed. GenMed terminated the contract. After GenMed quit, Molina continued to collect money from the state for the SNF services, but it was neither providing those services itself nor making them available through any third party. Molina never revealed this breakdown, nor did it seek a replacement service provider.Prose, the founder of GenMed, brought this qui tam action under both the state and federal False Claims Acts, 31 U.S.C. 3729, alleging that Molina submitted fraudulent claims for payments from government funds. The district court dismissed the case. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The complaint plausibly alleges that as a sophisticated player in the medical-services industry, Molina was aware that these kinds of nursing facility services play a material role in the delivery of Medicaid benefits. View "Prose v. Molina Healthcare of Illinois," on Justia Law