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As a school principal, Buendia took kickbacks from Shy. Detroit Public Schools (DPS) paid Shy for supplies he never delivered. Some of the money came from the federal government. The FBI searched Shy’s home and found a ledger of kickbacks Shy owed Buendia. Buendia was convicted of federal-programs bribery, 18 U.S.C. 666(a)(1)(B), and sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting her argument that the district court violated her constitutional right to present a complete defense when it excluded evidence of her kickback expenditures and the alleged receipts of expenditures for school purposes. The right to present a complete defense yields to reasonable evidentiary restrictions. The court correctly excluded as irrelevant evidence of how Buendia spent the kickback money and correctly excluded the receipts of school expenditures as hearsay. Regardless of how Buendia eventually spent the money, she “corruptly solicit[ed]” it because, by awarding contracts to Shy in exchange for kickbacks, she subverted the normal bidding process in a manner inconsistent with her duty to obtain goods and services for her school at the best value. Nor did the government open the door" by introducing testimony that Buendia bought massages using a gift card from Shy to show that she accepted kickbacks. View "United States v. Buendia" on Justia Law

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The VA sought bids for procurement of medical gases. Three bids were determined to be in the competitive range: RAS, Irish, and Progressive. Progressive won a bid protest in part. The Claims Court enjoined the VA from awarding the contracts to RAS and Irish, vacated the awards to those companies, and remanded the case to the VA. The VA filed a Motion, explaining its need to continuously supply medical gases and informed the court of its plan to award an emergency bridge. Without receiving a response from Progressive, the court stated that it “[did] not deem the proposed course of action to be non-compliant.” A series of motions followed, concerning Progressive’s “entitlement to compensation for the severe economic harm” and its deadline for seeking attorney fees and costs under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412(d)(2)(G). Later, the court denied Progressive’s request that it direct the VA to re-evaluate the bid proposals within the competitive range, rather than resolicit the contracts altogether. Meanwhile, the VA resolicited the contracts, applied the Rule of Two, and awarded contracts to RAS and Irish. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Progressive’s Rule 59(e) motion was untimely and the Claims Court did not abuse its discretion in denying Progressive’s 60(b)(6) motion. View "Progressive Industries, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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At issue in this statutory-construction case was the damages-cap and election-of-remedies provisions of the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA) with respect to independent contractors performing essential governmental functions. Plaintiff, the daughter of a pedestrian who was struck and killed by a public bus in Fort Worth, brought claims under the TTCA against the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA), its two independent contractors, and the bus driver. The Supreme Court held (1) the TTCA’s damages cap applies cumulatively when, as in this case, an independent contractor performed essential governmental functions of a transportation authority; (2) the TTCA’s election-of-remedies provision extends to cover an employee of an independent contractor performing essential governmental functions; and (3) the transit defendants in this case were not entitled to attorney’s fees arising out of interpleader. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and reinstated the trial court’s judgment in favor of FWTA with respect to issues one and two, and affirmed the denial of attorney’s fees and remand to the trial court for further proceedings. View "Fort Worth Transportation Authority v. Rodriguez" on Justia Law

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The San Lorenzo Valley Water District acquired real property in Boulder Creek, California from the Dildines. Holloway, a taxpayer within District, filed suit claiming the contract was void under Government Code section 1090, because one of District’s directors, Vierra, had an interest in the contract by nature of his partial ownership in Showcase Realty, which facilitated the property sale, and the fact that his wife was the listing agent for the property. The trial court dismissed on the ground that Holloway lacked standing to assert a claim for conflict of interest. The court of appeal reversed. Holloway has taxpayer standing under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a to challenge the contract and has standing under Government Code section 1092 to bring an action for conflict of interest. There is no challenge to District’s bonds, warrants or other evidence of indebtedness; Holloway was not required to bring a validation action under Water Code section 30066. View "Holloway v. Showcase Realty Agents, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this appeal arising from the efforts of the Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation (MTC) to provide broadband network access in Massachusetts, the First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court as to all but one narrow issue. MTC entered into two contacts, one with Axia NGNetworks USA (name later changed to “KCST”), which agreed to operate the network, and the other with Axia NetMedia Corporation (“Axia”), which guaranteed KCST’s performance. Once the network was constructed and began operating, MTC and KCST and Axia filed claims against each other, and KCST filed for bankruptcy. The parties agreed that those claims would be resolved by arbitration. In the meantime, MTC obtained a preliminary injunction from the district court ordering Axia to perform various obligations of KCST while the parties’ substantive disputes remained unresolved. The First Circuit largely affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in finding that MTC will likely prevail on its claim that Axia was obligated to continue performing its obligations as guarantor until the parties’ underlying dispute was resolved; (2) the case must be remanded for the limited purpose of amending the order to make clear the Axia’s obligations terminate once Axia has properly expended $4 million in complying with the guaranty; and (3) the remaining allegations of error were without merit. View "Axia NetMedia Corp. v. Massachusetts Technology Park Corp." on Justia Law

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The Yearsley doctrine applies to claims arising under federal law. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of GDIT's motion to dismiss, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, an action alleging that GDIT violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The court held that GDIT was immune from suit under the Yearsley doctrine, which immunizes government contractors from suit when the government authorized the contractor's actions and the government validly conferred that authorization. The court found nothing in Yearsley or its progeny that limited its application solely to state law liability. The court held that the district court did not err in treating Yearsley applicability as a jurisdictional bar to suit and granting GDIT's motion to dismiss. View "Cunningham v. General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc." on Justia Law

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Enacted in 2016, Ohio Revised Code 3701.034 requires the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to ensure that all funds it receives through six non-abortion-related federal health programs are not used to contract with any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions, or becomes or continues to be an affiliate of any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the entry of a permanent injunction, first rejecting a challenge to Plaintiffs’ standing to assert due process claims. The district court properly applied the “unconstitutional conditions” doctrine, which is not limited to First Amendment rights. Although the government has no obligation to subsidize constitutionally protected activity, it may not use its control over funds to curtail the exercise of constitutionally protected rights outside the scope of a government-funded program. Section 3701.034 imposes conditions; does not distinguish between the grantee and the project; does not permit the grantee to keep abortion-related speech and activities separate from governmental programs; does not leave the grantee unfettered in its other activities; and does not permit the grantee to continue to perform abortion and provide abortion-related services through programs that are independent from projects that receive the funds. While finding the “undue-burden analysis” employed in some courts “questionable,” the court concluded that section 3701.034 is unnecessary to advance the interests ODH asserts. View "Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Himes" on Justia Law

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University Park hired Linear as its Village Manager through May 2015, concurrent with the term of its Mayor. In October 2014 the Village extended Linear’s contract for a year. In April 2015 Mayor Covington was reelected. In May, the Board of Trustees decided that Linear would no longer be Village Manager. His contract provides for six months’ severance pay if the Board discharges him for any reason except criminality. The Village argued that the contract’s extension was not lawful and that it owes Linear nothing. The district court agreed and rejected Linear’s suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, reasoning that 65 ILCS 5/3.1-30-5; 5/8-1-7 prohibit a village manager's contract from lasting beyond the end of a mayor’s term. The Seventh Circuit affirmed on different grounds. State courts should address the Illinois law claims. Linear’s federal claim rests on a mistaken appreciation of the role the Constitution plays in enforcing state-law rights. Linear never had a legitimate claim of entitlement to remain as Village Manager. His contract allowed termination without cause. His entitlement was to receive the contracted-for severance pay. Linear could not have a federal right to a hearing before losing his job; he has at most a right to a hearing to determine his severance pay--a question of Illinois law. View "Linear v. Village of University Park" on Justia Law

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In 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was established to rule Iraq pending transfer of authority to the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG). CPA awarded Agility a Contract to operate warehouses, providing that “[t]he obligation under this contract is made with Iraqi funds.” Agility acknowledged the impending transfer of authority and CPA’s scheduled dissolution. CPA authorized the IIG Minister of Finance to delegate contract administration to CPA’s Program Management Office (PMO). CPA administered Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), composed of various sources, including revenue from sales of Iraqi petroleum and natural gas. The IIG Minister delegated contract-administration responsibility concerning DFI-funded contracts to the PMO but did not give PMO contracting authority. Subsequent Contract task orders obligated U.S. funds. A U.S. contracting officer (CO) determined that Agility owed the government $81 million due to overpayment. Separately, Agility unsuccessfully sought $47 million for unpaid fees. The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals dismissed Agility's appeals for lack of jurisdiction under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA), 41 U.S.C. 7101–7109. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The Board’s CDA jurisdiction is limited to contracts “made by an ‘executive agency.’” CPA was not an executive agency under the CDA. CPA awarded the Contract and there was no evidence that it was novated or assigned to an executive agency. The government acted as a contract administrator, not as a contracting party. View "Agility Logistics Services Co., KSC v. Mattis" on Justia Law

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Relator filed a qui tam action alleging that his employer violated the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-33, by submitting to the United States false or fraudulent claims for payment. The Eleventh Circuit held, as a matter of first impression, that section 3731(b)(2)'s three year limitations period applies to an FCA claim brought by a relator even when the United States declines to intervene. Because the FCA provides that this period begins to run when the relevant federal government official learns of the facts giving rise to the claim, when the relator learned of the fraud is immaterial for statute of limitations purposes. In this case, it was not apparent from the face of the complaint that relator's claim was untimely where his allegations showed that he filed suit within three years of the date when he disclosed facts material to the right of action to United States officials and within ten years of when the fraud occurred. Therefore, the district court erred in dismissing the complaint, and the court reversed and remanded. View "United States v. Cochise Consultancy, Inc." on Justia Law