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In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) entered into a “Cooperative Agreement” with St. Bernard Parish under the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act, 31 U.S.C. 6301–08. Under the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, NRCS was “authorized to assist [St. Bernard] in relieving hazards created by natural disasters that cause a sudden impairment of a watershed.” NRCS agreed to “provide 100 percent ($4,318,509.05) of the actual costs of the emergency watershed protection measures,” and to reimburse the Parish. St. Bernard contracted with Omni for removing sediment in Bayou Terre Aux Boeufs for $4,290,300.00, predicated on the removal of an estimated 119,580 cubic yards of sediment. Omni completed the project. Despite having removed only 49,888.69 cubic yards of sediment, Omni billed $4,642,580.58. NRCS determined that it would reimburse St. Bernard only $2,849,305.60. Omni and St. Bernard executed a change order that adjusted the contract price to $3,243,996.37. St. Bernard paid Omni then sought reimbursement from NRCS. NRCS reimbursed $355,866.21 less than St. Bernard claims it is due. The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Parish’s lawsuit, filed under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491(a)(1), for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994, 7 U.S.C. 6991–99, Congress created a detailed, comprehensive scheme providing private parties with the right of administrative review of adverse decisions by particular agencies within the Department of Agriculture, including NRCS. View "St. Bernard Parish Government v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant, Pare Engineering Corporation, on John Rocchio Corporation’s action asserting claims for interference with prospective contractual relations, negligence, and breach of contractual obligations due to Rocchio as a third-party beneficiary of the contract between Pare and the Warwick Sewer Authority (WSA), holding that summary judgment was properly granted. The WSA entered into an agreement with Pare for consulting and engineering services relating to a sewer infrastructure expansion project planned by the WSA. Pare provided requests for proposal that would serve as the basis for the biding process for potential general contractors. Rocchio was the low bidder, but the contract was awarded to another bidder. Rocchio then brought this action. The hearing justice granted Pare’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that summary judgment was appropriate on all claims. View "John Rocchio Corp. v. Pare Engineering Corp." on Justia Law

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Relators filed a quit am action against the Hospital for violations of the False Claims Act. Relators also filed suit against the Hospital and its CEO, alleging violation of the Act's anti-retaliation provision. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Hospital's motion to dismiss all counts of the complaint and grant of summary judgment as to the retaliation claim. The court held that the complaint alleged a fraudulent scheme without representative examples with the required specificity. Furthermore, the complaint lacked the sufficient indicia of reliability leading to a strong inference that claims were actually submitted. The court also held that claims alleging that defendants made false records or statements were properly dismissed because they failed to connect the false records or statements to any claim made to the government; claims that the Hospital conspired to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute were properly dismissed because the complaint did not include any details about an agreement and relators failed to plead the conspiracy with particularity; claims against the CEO were properly dismissed because the Act did not impose individual liability; and the district court properly granted summary judgment for the Hospital on the remaining claims. View "United States ex rel. Strubbe v. Crawford County Memorial Hospital" on Justia Law

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In 2003, Dobyns, then an ATF agent engaged in undercover work, infiltrated the Hells Angels and assisted in the indictment of 36 people for racketeering and murder. The disclosure of his identity during the prosecutions led to threats against Dobyns and his family. ATF’s alleged failure to appropriately respond to the threats and to adequately conceal Dobyns’ identity during an emergency relocation, led Dobyns to seek compensation. In 2007, ATF agreed to pay Dobyns a lump-sum. ATF withdrew Dobyns’ and his family’s fictitious identities in 2008 despite a 2007 threat assessment. A 2008, arson attack substantially damaged Dobyns’ home, but his family escaped without injury. ATF pursued Dobyns as a suspect. In 2013, ATF’s Internal Affairs Division concluded that there was no valid reason for the withdrawal of the fictitious identifies; that risks to the family had been ignored; and that the response to the arson had been mismanaged. Dobyns sued in 2008, alleging breach of the agreement. While the suit was pending, Dobyns’ book was released; Dobyns made frequent media appearances. In 2013, the Claims Court held that there was no breach of any express provision of the agreement but that there was a breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing and that Dobyns was entitled to emotional distress damages of $173,000. Dobyns alleged misconduct by the Justice Department during the litigation; the court determined that none of the alleged misconduct warranted Rule 60 relief because, even if they occurred, there was no showing that these acts could have affected Dobyns’ case. The Federal Circuit reversed the judgment as to the breach of the implied duties and affirmed the Rule 60 decision. View "Dobyns v. United States" on Justia Law

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In an act of road rage, Bedford fired two shots at a truck driver while they both headed westbound on Interstate 40 in Tennessee. The truck driver, P.D., was employed by P&R, a private trucking company that had a contract with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to transport mail, and was carrying U.S. mail. Bedford was charged with forcibly assaulting, resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, or interfering with a person assisting officers and employees of the United States, while that person was engaged in the performance of official duties, and in doing so, using a dangerous weapon, 18 U.S.C. 111(a)(1), (b). Bedford moved to dismiss the indictment for lack of jurisdiction, contending that P.D. was not an officer or employee of the United States within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 1114. The district court denied the motion, finding that the driver was a person assisting a federal officer or employee and fell within the statute’s reach. Bedford now appeals that denial. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. When a private mail carrier, pursuant to formal contract, carries U.S. mail on behalf of the USPS, he assists an officer or employee of the United States in the performance of official duties. View "United States v. Bedford" on Justia Law

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The Mississippi Supreme Court previously unanimously held that KPMG, LLP could not enforce arbitration agreements attached to five annual engagement letters with Singing River Health System (Singing River), a community hospital, because the terms and condition of the letters were not sufficiently spread upon the hospital board’s minutes to create an enforceable contract. In this appeal, KPMG sought to enforce the very same arbitration agreements attached to the very same engagement letters with Singing River - this time against Jackson County, Mississippi, which acted as Singing River’s bond guarantor. For the same reason the Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of KPMG’s motion to compel arbitration in KPMG, LLP v. Singing River Health System, the Court reversed and remanded the trial court’s grant of KPMG’s motion to compel arbitration in this case. View "Jackson County, Mississippi v. KPMG, LLP" on Justia Law

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Petitions for review of compensation orders arising under the Defense Base Act should be filed in the circuit where the relevant district director is located. The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for review challenging the Benefits Review Board's decision concluding that a linguist who supported the military in Iraq was entitled to workers' compensation under the Defense Base Act. The panel held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's determination that claimant met both the medical and the economic aspect of disability as defined by the statute; the ALJ applied the correct legal standard when considering the evidence in this case; and the ALJ correctly concluded that claimant met his burden to show that he was disabled. View "Global Linguist Solutions, LLC v. Abdelmeged" on Justia Law

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Mittelstadt’s Richland County, Wisconsin land was enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), administered by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), from 1987-2006. CRP participants agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production in return for annual rental payments from the USDA. In 2006, the agency denied Mittelstadt’s application to re-enroll. After exhausting his administrative appeals, he sued under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701, and asserting a breach of contract. The district court entered judgment in favor of the agency. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Under the regulations governing the CRP, the USDA has broad discretion to evaluate offers of enrollment in the program on a competitive basis by considering the environmental benefits of a producer’s land relative to its costs. Given the agency’s wide latitude, the Farm Services Agency did not abuse its discretion when it denied re-enrollment of Mittelstadt’s land under a new definition of “mixed hardwoods.” Because he never entered a new contract with the agency, there was no breach of contract. View "Mittelstadt v. Perdue" on Justia Law

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The Orange County Water District (the District) appealed a postjudgment order awarding The Arnold Engineering Company approximately $615,000 in costs of proof under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.420 based on the District's failure to admit certain fact-specific requests for admission (RFAs) during discovery. The District argued the trial court erred in making the award because: (1) the District had reasonable grounds to believe it would prevail on the matters at issue under section 2033.420 (b)(3); and (2) even if it did not, Arnold did not adequately substantiate its costs with admissible evidence. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court abused its discretion in awarding costs for certain RFAs because the District reasonably relied on percipient witness testimony, undisputed scientific testing, and the opinions of a qualified expert in denying the RFAs. Furthermore, the Court determined certain evidence, namely expert witness invoices, was inadequate to support an award under the circumstances here because it did not distinguish between recoverable and nonrecoverable costs. The case was remanded for a new order awarding reasonable costs of proof. View "Orange County Water Dist. v. The Arnold Engineering Co." on Justia Law

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During World War II, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was established by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After the war, Hanford continued in use, operated by contractors. Each time the work was transferred to another contractor, the employees that performed the work would stay the same, typically with the same pay and benefits. The Hanford Multi-Employer Pension Plan (MEPP) was established in 1987 as a contract between “Employers,” defined as named contractors, and “Employees.” The government is not a party to the MEPP but may not be amended without government approval. In 1996, some employees accepted employment with a Hanford subcontractor, Lockheed, and were informed that, upon their retirement, they would not receive retirement benefits that were previously afforded under the MEPP. They were subsequently told that they would remain in the MEPP but that, instead of calculating their pension benefits based on their total years in service, their benefits would be calculated using the highest five-year salary, and that they could not challenge the change until they retired. This became a MEPP amendment. In 2016, former Lockheed employees sued the government, alleging that an implied contract was breached when they did not receive benefits based on their total years in service. The Federal Circuit held that the former employees did not prove that an implied-in-fact contract existed. The government funds Lockheed and others to manage Hanford, but there is no evidence that the government intended to be contractually obligated to their employees; there was no mutuality of intent. View "Turping v. United States" on Justia Law