Justia Government Contracts Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court held that Lockheed Martin Corporation's receipts from the sales of F-16 fighter jets to the U.S. government were improperly sourced to Texas for purposes of calculating its Texas franchise tax, holding that Lockheed Martin demonstrated its entitlement to a refund of franchise taxes. The fighter jets at issue were manufactured in Fort Worth and destined for foreign-government buyers. In accordance with federal law, the foreign buyers contracted with the U.S. government to purchase the jets, and the U.S. government contracted with Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin filed for a refund of the portion of its franchise taxes for the tax years 2005 through 2007 attributable to the sales of the F-16 aircraft. The Comptroller denied the claim, and Lockheed Martin brought this suit. The trial court rendered judgment for the Comptroller, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Lockheed Martin's "sale" of each F-16 was to the respective foreign-government "buyer" for whom the aircraft was manufactured, and the government's involvement had no bearing on whether to apportion the receipts from that sale to Texas; and (2) the F-16s were delivered to the "buyers" outside of Texas, and therefore, the receipts from the sales of those aircraft were not properly sourced to Texas. View "Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Hegar" on Justia Law

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In this construction contract dispute, the Supreme Court held that the San Antonio River Authority possessed the authority to agree to arbitrate claims under Texas Local Government Code Chapter 271 and exercised that authority in the contract and that the judiciary, rather than an arbitrator, retains the duty to decide whether a local government has waived its governmental immunity. The River Authority hired Austin Bridge and Road L.P. for a construction project. The parties agreed to submit any disputes about the contract to arbitration. Austin Bridge invoked the contract's arbitration provisions when disagreements about the scope of work and payment arose. After the arbitrator denied the River Authority's plea of governmental immunity, the River Authority sued Austin Bridge, arguing that it lacked the authority to agree to the contract's arbitration provisions. The trial court concluded that the arbitration provisions in the contract were enforceable. The court of appeals agreed that the River Authority had the authority to agree to arbitrate but concluded that a court, rather than an arbitrator, must decide whether the River Authority was immune from the claims against it. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that chapter 271 waived the River Authority's immunity from suit for Austin Bridge's breach of contract claim. View "San Antonio River Authority v. Austin Bridge & Road, L.P." on Justia Law

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HCI, on behalf of the Illinois Department of Aging, coordinates services for low-income seniors in an effort to keep them at home. HCI sometimes referred clients who needed in-home healthcare services to home healthcare companies owned by MPI. Qui tam claims against MPI, its home healthcare companies, and HCI, alleged that they orchestrated an illegal patient referral scheme that violated the Anti-Kickback Statute, 42 U.S.C. 1320a-7b(g), and, by extension, the state and federal False Claims Acts, 31 U.S.C. 3730(b)(1). The district court entered judgment for the defendants. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The evidence showed that MPI made monthly payments to HCI in return for access to the non-profit’s client records and used that information to solicit clients. The Anti-Kickback Statute definition of a referral is broad, encapsulating both direct and indirect means of connecting a patient with a provider. It goes beyond explicit recommendations; the inquiry is a practical one that focuses on substance, not form. The plaintiff’s theory was that MPI’s payments to HCI under the Management Services Agreement constituted kickbacks intended to obtain referrals in the form of receiving access to the HCI files that the defendants then exploited to solicit clients. A factfinder applying an erroneously narrow understanding of "referral "might find those facts, devoid of an explicit direction of a patient to a provider, to fall outside its scope. View "Stop Illinois Health Care Fraud, LLC v. Sayeed" on Justia Law

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North Edwards Water District (the District) selected Clark Bros., Inc. (Clark) as its general or direct contractor on a public works project to build an arsenic removal water treatment plant. Clark hired subcontractor Crosno Construction (Crosno) to build and coat two steel reservoir tanks. The subcontract contained a "pay-when-paid" provision that stated Clark would pay Crosno within a reasonable time of receiving payments from the District, but that this reasonable time "in no event shall be less than the time Contractor and Subcontractor require to pursue to conclusion their legal remedies against Owner or other responsible party to obtain payment . . . ." After Crosno completed most of its work, a dispute arose between the District and Clark halting the project. As Clark sued the District, Crosno sought to recover payments owed under the public works payment bond that Clark had obtained for the project. The issue this case presented for the Court of Appeal's review involved Crosno's claim against the bond surety, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America (Travelers). At issue was whether the pay-when-paid provision in Crosno's subcontract precluded Crosno from recovering under the payment bond while Clark's lawsuit against the District was pending. Relying on Wm. R. Clarke Corp. v. Safeco Ins. Co., 15 Cal.4th 882 (1997), the trial court found the pay-when-paid provision here unenforceable because it affected or impaired Crosno's payment bond rights in violation of Civil Code section 8122. With the facts largely undisputed, the court granted Crosno's motion for summary judgment and entered judgment in its favor for principal due plus prejudgment interest. Travelers argued the trial court misconstrued Wm. R. Clarke and erred in failing to enforce the pay-when-paid provision against the bond claim. After carefully considering the parties' arguments, the Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court's analysis and affirmed. View "Crosno Construction, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty etc." on Justia Law

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The Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services (ITS) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for telecommunications services. After vendors responded, ITS selected the proposal submitted by Telepak Networks, Inc., d/b/a C Spire (C Spire) for a statewide voice and data network. AT&T Corp. (AT&T) protested the award, arguing that ITS’s award of the contract to C Spire was erroneous because C Spire’s proposal did not match the specifications set forth in the RFP. ITS denied AT&T’s challenge, and it appealed. The Chancery Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County affirmed, finding that ITS’s award of the contract to C Spire was not arbitrary and capricious or unsupported by substantial evidence. AT&T appealed. After review, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that the ITS decision that C Spire’s proposal matched the RFP’s specifications was supported by substantial evidence and was not arbitrary and capricious. Therefore, we affirm. View "AT&T Corp. v. Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services" on Justia Law

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More than 70 years ago, two railroad companies helped the United States Atomic Energy Commission build a track to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in return for the right to use the track without paying rent. After the nuclear reactors at Hanford were decommissioned, the United States transferred nearly 800 acres, including the track at issue, to the Port of Benton (Port), subject to existing agreements and potential reversion to the United States if certain conditions were not met. The Port continued to honor the agreements and operate the railroad. The Port’s decision not to charge rent was challenged by a taxpayer, Randolph Peterson, as an unconstitutional gift of public funds. This challenge was dismissed at summary judgment. After review of the trial court record, the Washington Supreme Court found no constitutional violation and affirmed dismissal. View "Peterson v. Dep't of Revenue" on Justia Law

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Restore was asked to mitigate and repair significant fire damage at Proviso East High School, having provided similar service to the District in the past. The District’s customary practice when contracting for repair and payment of losses covered by insurance was to proceed without a recorded vote of its Board. The fire loss was covered by insurance. The District’s superintendent executed contracts with Restore. The District was subject to the School District Financial Oversight Panel (FOP) and Emergency Financial Assistance Law (105 ILCS 5/1B-1) and the Financial Oversight Panel Law (105 ILCS 5/1H-1). The FOP’s chief fiscal officer attended construction meetings and approved numerous subcontracts, quotations, bids, sales orders, change orders, and invoices. Although there was no recorded vote, “a majority of the Proviso Board knew and informally approved" the work. Restore was paid by the insurers for all but $1,428,000. Restore sued, seeking recovery from the District based on quantum meruit. The District argued that it had no obligation to pay because the contracts had not been let out for bid and approved by a majority vote as required by the School Code (105 ILCS 5/1-1). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the reinstatement of the case following dismissal. The failure of a governmental unit to comply with required contracting methods is not fatal to a plaintiff’s right to recover based on quasi-contract or implied contract principles. The Board was subject to the FOP; the FOP was fully apprised of and approved the work. Any misconduct was on the part of the Board; allowing Restore to recover presents no “risk of a raid on the public treasury.” View "Restore Construction Co., Inc. v. Board of Education of Proviso Township High Schools District 209" on Justia Law

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The Army sought to procure the services of certified registered nurse anesthetists for the Fort Bragg Army Medical Center. Eskridge bid but the solicitation was canceled. A new solicitation received 18 timely, complete proposals. Eskridge filed a pre-award protest with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), alleging that the Army “acted in bad faith” by failing to include language allegedly agreed-upon following the cancellation. Eskridge withdrew its protest after the Army responded. Eskridge’s bid was not ranked among the five lowest proposals. The Army awarded the contract to Ansible as the lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposal. Eskridge filed another protest. The Army indicated it would “better document the selection” and reviewed the 10 lowest-priced bidders on technical and past performance bases. Of the five technically acceptable bidders, Eskridge bid the highest total price. The Army awarded the Contract to Ansible. Eskridge filed a post-award protest. The GAO and the Claims Court dismissed Eskridge’s claims, finding Eskridge had no substantial chance of winning the Contract and that the claimed errors would affect each of the five lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposals equally. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Eskridge does not possess a direct economic interest. The relevant inquiry is whether the bidder “establish[ed] not only some significant error in the procurement process but also that there was a substantial chance it would have received the contract award but for that error.” The court found no error in the Army’s compensation realism analysis. View "Eskridge & Associates v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court in favor of Excel Underground, Inc. on its breach of contract claim against the Brant Lake Sanitary District, holding that the circuit court did not err in any of its challenged rulings. The District contracted with Schmitz, Kalda, and Associates, Inc. (SKA) to engineer a sewer system and with Excel to install it. After delays, the District terminated Excel's contract. The District and Excel subsequently sued each other for breach of contract. The District also filed a third-party complaint against SKA for contribution and indemnity. Prior to trial, the trial court granted Excel's motion to dismiss the District's claim for liquidated damages and dismissed SKA from the suit. After a jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Excel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the circuit court did not err by dismissing the District's claim for liquidated damages; (2) despite any error in the district court's instruction that SKA was the District's agent, the District failed to establish prejudice; (3) the circuit court did not err by allowing testimony regarding the District's emergency bidding procedures; and (4) the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's damage award. View "Excel Underground, Inc. v. Brant Lake Sanitary District" on Justia Law

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The VA issued a contract to OPSS for developing and managing the VA’s program to provide veterans access to community-based healthcare in Region 3 of the WellPoint, an unsuccessful bidder, brought a bid protest action. The Claims Court found that the VA conducted a reasonable best value determination, denied WellPoint’s request for injunctive relief, and dismissed WellPoint’s bid protest challenge. The Federal Circuit affirmed. The VA’s methodology for evaluating price in connection with this procurement was both reasonable and in accordance with the terms of the Solicitation. The court noted the three levels at which the proposals were evaluated and found no showing that alleged errors in first-tier revies carried over to the final decision. Even if an error had been carried over, WellPoint has not demonstrated that “but for the error, it would have had a substantial chance of securing the contract.” View "WellPoint Military Care Corp. v. United States" on Justia Law