Justia Government Contracts Opinion Summaries

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In this infrastructure development dispute, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that the Legislature had not waived immunity for Plaintiff's declaratory relief claims against the City of New Braunfels, holding that because Plaintiff relied on the court of appeals' holding in a previous appeal that declaratory relief was available and the Open Meeting Act and Tex. Local Gov't Code chapter 252 afforded alternative relief to consider, remand was required in the interest of justice.Plaintiff sued the City seeking declaratory relief for violations of the Open Meetings Act and the contract-bidding provisions of chapter 252. The trial court denied the City's jurisdictional plea based on governmental immunity, and the court of appeals affirmed, permitting Plaintiff's claims to proceed. Plaintiff prevailed at an ensuing trial, and the trial court awarded declaratory relief. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the City was immune. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded the case, holding that this was a compelling case requiring a remand in the interest of justice. View "Carowest Land, Ltd. v. City of New Braunfels, Texas" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff County of Monterey (County) appealed when the trial court denied its petition for writ of mandate and complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief. The County was the successor agency for its former redevelopment agency ("RDA"), and challenged decisions by the Department of Finance (Department) relating to a development known as the East Garrison Project, which was part of the Fort Ord Redevelopment Project located on a closed military base in Monterey. The County claimed the trial court erroneously determined that a written agreement entered into between its former RDA and a private developer (real party in interest, UCP East Garrison, LLC) was not an enforceable obligation within the meaning of the dissolution law because the former RDA did not have the authority to approve the agreement on the date the governor signed the 2011 dissolution legislation. The County further contended the trial court erred in determining the County failed to show the Department abused its discretion in disapproving two separate requests for funding related to administration of the East Garrison Project. The County claimed these administrative costs were expended to complete an enforceable obligation within the meaning of the dissolution law, and therefore the Department should have approved its requests for payment of such costs. Finally, the County argued the Department’s application of the dissolution law improperly impaired UCP’s contractual rights. The Court of Appeal rejected each of the County's contentions and affirmed judgment. View "County of Monterey v. Bosler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's dismissal of West Virginia Counties Group Self-Insurance Risk Pool, Inc.'s (WVCoRP) claims against Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. (VFD), holding that the circuit court did not err.When a fire destroyed the building where VFD was housed, the owner of the building, the Morgan County Commission, was reimbursed for the loss by WVCoRP. Seeking to recover the funds it expended, WVCoRP sued the VFD and other parties for negligence. In the process, WVCoRP invoked a contractual right to subrogation. The circuit court determined that the claims against VFD were barred by W. Va. Code 29-12A-13(c), which prohibits claims against political subdivisions made under a right of subrogation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) WVCoRP's claims spring from its coverage contract with the Commission and fall within any plain meaning of subrogation; and (2) section 29-12A-13(c) is not an insurance law of the State from which WVCoRP is exempt. View "West Virginia Counties Group v. Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Department, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals requiring Appellant to comply with a subpoena duces tecum issued to him by the Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet (Secretary), holding that the subpoena powers of the Secretary extend to suspected violations of Kentucky's Model Procurement Code (KMPC) and that the Secretary has the power to subpoena non-government employees as part of an investigation into a possible violation of the KMPC.The Secretary issued a subpoena to Frank Lassiter seeking information to assist in an investigation into whether certain government contracts complied with the KMPC. Lassiter refused to comply with the subpoena, arguing that the Secretary's authority to issue subpoenas under Ky. Rev. Stat. Chapter 45 did not extend to investigations into potential KMPC violations and, regardless, did not allow him to subpoena non-government employees. The circuit court denied the Secretary's motion to compel Lassiter's compliance, finding that the Secretary subpoena power did not apply to investigations into possible violations of the KMPC. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Secretary's subpoena power applies to investigations into possible violations of the KMPC. View "Lassiter v. Landrum" on Justia Law

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Appellant SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority (the “JRA”) was a joint authority formed pursuant to the MAA, governed by a sixteen member Board, with each of the eight member counties appointing two members. In addition to the MAA, the Board’s operations were governed by the JRA’s bylaws and a code of conduct. Appellee Susquehanna Union Railroad Company (“SURC”) was a third-party rail line operator. The JRA began the process to award a new operating agreement. At an October 2014 Board meeting, the JRA’s counsel announced because the Board had sixteen members, a nine-vote majority was required for the Board to act. Carload Express received twenty-four points, SURC received twenty-three, and Northern Plains Railroad received thirteen. A roll call vote was taken on the motion to award the contract to Carload and, of the ten voting Board members, seven voted in favor and three against. When certain Board members questioned the nine vote requirement for action, the Board voted unanimously to table the decision to award the operating agreement to Carload pending further review of the JRA’s bylaws and the applicable law. After the meeting, Carload submitted its position to the JRA, arguing that it had been awarded the operating agreement based upon the seven-to-three vote. The JRA responded by filing an action requesting a declaration upholding its use of the nine vote requirement. The Supreme Court granted discretionary appeal to determine whether Section 5610(e) of the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act's use of the phrase “members present” abrogated the common law rule that a simple majority (a majority vote of the voting members who make up the quorum of a municipal authority) carried a vote. Because the Court concluded that it did not, it affirmed the Commonwealth Court. View "Seda-Cog Joint Rail Auth v. Carload Express et al" on Justia Law

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In this case related to the disbursement of Purdue Pharma funds, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' grant of summary judgment for the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and Dolt Thompson declaring that a contract was enforceable and a payment to Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Kinney, P.S.C. (Dolt Thompson) was proper, holding that the circuit court did not err.The then-attorney general filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma regarding the OxyContin epidemic. The OAG selected Dolt Thompson to assist in the Commonwealth's litigation against Purdue Pharma. After the OAG settled with Purdue Pharma it paid Dolt Thompson in part. The Legislature then passed a 2016 budget bill directing payment of attorney's fees and expenses in the Purdue Pharma case. The OAG filed a complaint seeking a declaration that the payment to Dolt Thompson was proper. The Finance Cabinet filed an action against Dolt Thompson. The circuit court consolidated the cases and entered summary judgment for the OAG and Dolt Thompson. The court of appeals reversed and ordered the circuit court to allow the Cabinet to conduct discovery. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Legislature acted within its authority in stating that the attorney's fees should be paid prior to any other disbursement of the Purdue Pharma funds. View "Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, P.S.C." on Justia Law

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After the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (MDPS) reinterpreted a provision in a contract between it and the Mann Agency, LLC, the MDPS refused to pay more than $700,000 in invoices submitted by the Mann Agency. The Mann Agency filed suit against the MDPS for breach of contract. The trial court dismissed each party’s breach-of-contract claim, found that the case involved a bona fide dispute, and denied the Mann Agency’s claim for interest and attorneys’ fees. The Mann Agency appealed the trial court’s decision to deny its claim for interest and attorneys’ fees, arguing that the MDPS acted in bad faith. The MDPS cross-appealed, arguing the trial court erred by dismissing as moot its breach-of-contract claim. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's decisions. View "Mann Agency, LLC v. Mississippi Department of Public Safety" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of the Benefit Review Board's decision affirming the ALJ's award of disability benefits to an employee of a defense contractor under the Defense Base Act (DBA), which extends workers' compensation benefits under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to certain employees of U.S. government contractors working overseas.In this case, the employee alleged that his injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment, thereby establishing a prima facie case for benefits under the LHWCA. The court held that the record supports the Board's conclusion that petitioner failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that the named defendants were not employers. Therefore, the Board did not err when it affirmed the ALJ's finding that the employee's claims were not barred under Section 933(g) of the LHWCA. View "G4S International Employment Services (Jersey), Ltd. v. Newton-Sealey" on Justia Law

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The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Cloud procurement is directed to the long-term provision of enterprise-wide cloud computing services to the Defense Department. Its solicitation contemplated a 10-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with a single provider. The JEDI solicitation included “gate” provisions that prospective bidders would be required to satisfy, including that the contractor must have at least three existing physical commercial cloud offering data centers within the U.S., separated by at least 150 miles, providing certain offerings that were “FedRAMP Moderate Authorized” at the time of proposal (a reference to a security level). Oracle did not satisfy the FedRAMP Moderate Authorized requirement and filed a pre-bid protest.The Government Accountability Office, Claims Court, and Federal Circuit rejected the protest. Even if Defense violated 10 U.S.C. 2304a by structuring the procurement on a single-award basis, the FedRAMP requirement would have been included in a multiple-award solicitation, so Oracle was not prejudiced by the single-award decision. The FedRAMP requirement “constituted a specification,” not a qualification requirement; the agency structured the procurement as a full and open competition. Satisfying the gate criteria was merely the first step in ensuring that the Department’s time was not wasted on offerors who could not meet its minimum needs. The contracting officer properly exercised her discretion in finding that the individual and organizational conflicts complained of by Oracle did not affect the integrity of the procurement. View "Oracle America Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted Sandra, Calvin, and their son Bryan Bailey of conspiring to commit healthcare fraud and other related crimes (18 U.S.C. 371, 1343, 1347; 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7b). The three, working for medical equipment companies, used fraud, forgery, and bribery to sell power wheelchairs and other equipment that was not medically necessary. The district court sentenced Sandra to 120 months’, Calvin to 45 months, and Bryan to 84 months’ imprisonment.The Sixth Circuit affirmed the convictions and the sentence imposed on Bryan. The court rejected challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence and to various evidentiary rulings and upheld the admission of certain out of court statements made in furtherance of the conspiracy. The district court miscalculated Sandra’s Guidelines-range sentence when it erroneously imposed a two-level increase in her offense level for using “mass marketing” in her scheme and incorrectly calculated the loss amount for which Calvin was responsible—and by extension, his Guidelines-range sentence—by holding him responsible for losses beyond those he agreed to jointly undertake. View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law