Justia Government Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Aviation
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SJJC Aviation is a fixed base operator (FBO) that operates a full-service facility at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, which is owned by the city. In 2012 the city addressed a plan to add a second FBO on the west side of the airport and issued a request for proposals “for the development and operation of aeronautical services facilities to serve general aviation activities at the [airport].” The city awarded the lease and operating agreement to Signature and its prospective subtenant, BCH, rejecting SJJC's bid as nonresponsive. SJJC filed suit, contending that the “flawed” process of soliciting bids for the lease should be set aside. The court of appeal affirmed dismissal of the suit. SJJC lost its own opportunity to compete for the new airport FBO by submitting a manifestly nonresponsive bid. SJJC is in reality complaining of past acts by the city and is seeking a remedy that will allow it another opportunity to submit a responsive proposal. View "SJJC Aviation Services v. City of San Jose" on Justia Law

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At the heart of this appeal were The Boeing Company’s alleged violations of FAA regulations arising from aircraft Boeing sold or leased to the government. Three former employees of Boeing (referred to as relators) in this qui tam action, brought suit under the False Claims Act (FCA) against Boeing and one of its suppliers, Ducommun, Inc. The relators claimed Boeing falsely certified that several aircraft it sold to the government complied with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, even though it knew parts manufactured by Ducommun and incorporated into the aircraft didn’t conform to FAA-approved designs. The district court granted Boeing’s and Ducommun’s respective motions for summary judgment on the relators’ FCA claims, finding no genuine dispute of material fact as to the falsity, scienter, and materiality elements of those claims. The district court also denied the relators’ motion to strike two FAA investigative reports, which the court then relied on in granting the motions for summary judgment. The relators then appealed. After review, the Tenth Circuit concluded the district court properly admitted the FAA reports under the Federal Rules of Evidence and the relators failed to establish the scienter element of their FCA claims. View "Smith v. Boeing Company" on Justia Law

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Relators filed suit under the California False Claims Act, Gov. Code, 12650 et seq., alleging that DHL overcharged and fraudulently billed the State for delivery services. The trial court concluded that the action was preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, 49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(1), and Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, 49 U.S.C. 14501(c)(1). The trial court then granted judgment on the pleadings. After remand from the California Supreme Court, the court concluded that People ex rel. Harris v. PAC Anchor Transportation, Inc. does not apply in this case. The court held, as it had before, that the application of the State Act in this case would constitute an impermissible regulation of DHL’s prices, routes and services in conflict with federal law. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court's order. View "Grupp v. DHL Express" on Justia Law

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Airlines, users of airports owned by the City of Chicago, have use agreements that make they city responsible for runway clearing. The airlines pay a per-landing fee, based on the city's actual expenses. In 1999 and 2000 the airports were crippled by severe snowstorms. The city obtained $6,000,000 in reimbursement from FEMA under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121. Years later FEMA ordered the city to return the money, based on a provision of the Act concerning duplicate benefits. FEMA asserted that the use agreements entitled the city to reimbursement of costs from the airlines. After exhausting administrative remedies the city filed suit. The district court denied the airlines' motion to intervene. The Seventh Circuit reversed. Finding that the airlines have standing, the court stated that t would not be as "efficient to litigate this three-cornered dispute in two lawsuits rather than one." View "City of Chicago v. Fed. Emergency Mgmt. Agency" on Justia Law

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In 1993, the FAA decided to privatize all Level I air traffic control towers. About 1500 controllers were forced to leave the field, be trained to operate higher level towers, or secure employment with the private contractors. Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 prohibits the federal government from performing an activity that could be performed for less cost by the private sector. Before privatizing a function, an agency must determine whether that function is inherently governmental or commercial. A governmental function must be performed by government employees. The district court first dismissed, but, on remand, instructed the FAA to undergo Circular A-76 analysis. The FAA continued to privatize towers and controllers again brought suit. The district court again remanded to the FAA for analysis, but refused to terminate private contracts already in place. The court later granted the FAA partial summary judgment, based on a 2003 amendment to 49 U.S.C. 47124, indicating that work in Level I towers is not an inherently governmental function, then dismissed remaining claims for lack of standing. The Sixth Circuit affirmed. Every tower privatized in the 1993 program fit within the section 47124(b)(3) mandate. View "Nat'l Air Traffic Controllers Ass'n v. Sec'y of the Dep't. of Transp." on Justia Law