Articles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

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KBR allegedly accepted kickbacks from two companies angling to win subcontracts on KBR's prime contract to service American armed forces in military theaters across the world. At issue on appeal was whether, and if so under what conditions, the Anti-Kickback Act's (AKA), 41 U.S.C. 55(a)(1), civil suit provision extended vicarious liability to an employer for the acts of its employees. The court discerned no persuasive evidence of congressional intent in section 55(a) to vary from the common law norm of permitting vicarious liability for employee actions taken under apparent authority. The court reversed the district court's ruling granting KBR's motion to dismiss the government's AKA claim, concluding that the district court erred in finding that section 55(a)(1) did not allow the government to allege vicarious liability. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc." on Justia Law

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X Tech filed suit against Geotest, alleging breach of an exclusive teaming agreement to submit a teamed bid on a USAF solicitation for testing equipment by teaming with another partner, Raytheon, on a competing bid. The jury found that Geotest breached an agreement with X Tech to "exclusively team to jointly pursue" the USAF solicitation and the district court entered judgment in favor of X Tech. The court concluded that the district court properly disposed of the parties' motions for directed verdict; concluded that the evidence proffered at trial was sufficient to support the jury's findings; affirmed the judgment of the district court and remanded to allow the district court to adjudge and award appellate attorney's fees; and denied X Tech's opposed motion to file a supplemental reply brief and Geotest's motion to file a supplemental brief as moot. View "X Technologies, Inc. v. Marvin Test Systems, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case arose out of a government contract to dredge a portion of the Houston-Galveston navigation channel. At issue was the scope of a corporate officer's personal liability under 31 U.S.C. 3713 (the Priority Statute). The court concluded that the decision of a corporate officer rendered pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA), 41 U.S.C. 7101 et seq., was a "claim" within the meaning of the Priority Statute; a debtor's representative had "notice" of that claim, necessary to trigger personal liability under the Priority Statute, when he had actual knowledge of its existence, whether or not he consulted counsel as to its validity; no genuine issue of material fact remained, and the government was entitled to judgment as a matter of law; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in striking the affirmative defenses and denying the motion for reconsideration. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Renda" on Justia Law

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Defendant (principal contractor) sub-contracted with Stevens for work on military personnel housing at the Army base at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Stevens retained plaintiff to perform re-roofing. Plaintiff completed satisfactory work at the instruction of defendant and Stevens, but was not paid in full. Plaintiff originally sued under the Miller Act, 40 U.S.C. 3133, which provides federal question jurisdiction Plaintiff conceded at trial that defendants failed to secure a bond as required under the Miller Act. The federal claim was dismissed. The district court entered judgment in favor of plaintiff on a Louisiana-law breach of contract claims and allowed plaintiff to amend to allege diversity that existed at the time of the original complaint. The court declined to consider defendants' newly submitted evidence concerning diversity. The Fifth Circuit vacated. The district court may not have had proper subject-matter jurisdiction from the instant plaintiff filed; it incorrectly held that it had discretion to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims, assuming that it had proper subject-matter jurisdiction under the Miller Act. The Miller Act claim was too attenuated to establish proper federal question jurisdiction and could not support supplemental jurisdiction. View "Arena. v. Graybar Electric Co., Inc.," on Justia Law

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This case concerned a contract between the parties where defendant was hired to dredge a portion of the Houston Ship Channel and to construct containment levees and other structures at a disposal facility for dredge material. Defendant subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its motion for partial dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and motion for partial summary judgment. Defendant also appealed the district court's grant of the government's motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court held that the government's suit to collect the money owed by defendant was timely because it was filed within six years of the contracting officer's decision; because defendant had failed to show its set-off claim "beyond peradventure," the court affirmed the district court's denial of its motion for partial summary judgment on this claim; and the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the government's claim for repayment it had overpaid defendant and the district court properly granted judgment in the government's favor on that claim. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court was affirmed. View "United States v. Renda Marine, Incorporated" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued the DoD for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the DoD violated various in-sourcing procedures adopted pursuant to federal law. The district court dismissed, concluding exclusive jurisdiction lay in the Court of Federal Claims. Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of its complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court concluded that plaintiff's complaint constituted an action by an interested party alleging a violation of a statute or regulation in connection with a procurement. Accordingly, the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491(b), conferred exclusive jurisdiction over this action with the Court of Federal Claims and the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., did not waive sovereign immunity as to plaintiff's claims. Therefore, the district court correctly dismissed the complaint and the judgment was affirmed. View "Rothe Development, Inc. v. U.S. Dept. of Defense, et al." on Justia Law