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Steve brings considerable government experience to the firm’s clients, having served as an associate counsel for litigation and senior trial attorney in the Department of the Navy’s Office of General Counsel. As a result of his work with the Navy, Steve helps clients strategize the best approaches for negotiation and litigation involving complex federal contracts. He also advises companies and individuals facing government investigations under the False Claims Act.

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Sanford Federal, Inc., the selected awardee for a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) contract, learned the hard way that a contractor simply cannot ignore a size protest, regardless of its actual merit.

On August 8, 2023, the VA issued an RFQ for boiler plant safety device testing, calibration and inspection for one of its facilities in Arizona. The RFQ was set aside entirely for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and assigned NAICS code 238290, Other Building Equipment. The corresponding size standard for this code was $22 million in average annual receipts. The VA received two timely quotes and selected Sanford for the award. The non-awardee, Caldaia Controls, Inc., filed a protest with the contracting officer asserting that Sanford was not a small business because it received significant contract awards between 2019 and 2023, which, when averaged, exceeded the procurement’s applicable size standard. The contracting officer forwarded the protest to the cognizant SBA Area Office (Area Office). Continue Reading An SBA Public Service Announcement: If You See Something, Say Something

In Steiner Construction Co., Inc., the Government Accountability Office (GAO) upheld the U.S. Coast Guard’s (USCG) award of a $1.19 billion small business set-aside shipbuilding contract to a business concern that was later determined to be other than a small business. The protestor argued that the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) decision to vacate an earlier SBA Area Office’s size determination that found the awardee to be an eligible small business concern required that the USCG terminate the award. Continue Reading It’s No Big Deal: How a Non-Small Business Won a Small Business Set-Aside Contract

On December 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) published the much anticipated proposed rule for the revamped Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) 2.0 Program.

Following growing concerns within DoD that contractors were not consistently implementing the cybersecurity requirements of DFARS 252.204-2012, DoD responded with the creation of the CMMC Program in 2019 to move away from a “self-attestation” model of security. The CMMC Program’s purpose is for contractors and subcontractors to demonstrate that Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) being processed, stored, or transmitted is adequately safeguarded. CMMC builds from existing cybersecurity requirements by requiring that contractors and subcontractors undergo Self-Assessments, Third-Party Assessments, or Government Assessments, as required, to ensure that mandated information protection requirements have been implemented. Continue Reading Happy New Year From DoD – The Proposed CMMC Rule Is Here

The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) recently issued a decision regarding a contractor’s claim for increased performance costs due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notable about this case is the contractor’s invocation of a July 2, 2020 Department of Defense (DoD) memorandum concerning the financial consequences on contractors with firm-fixed-price contracts lacking an economic price adjustment clause during “historic and unprecedented challenges” in the wake of the pandemic’s onset.
Continue Reading ASBCA Says “Not So Fast” to Contractors Seeking Relief from Pandemic Impacts

On August 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a notice regarding a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) for all Type 2 Consolidated Employer Information Reports, Standard Form 100 (EEO-1 Report), filed by all federal contractors, including “first-tier subcontractors,” (covered contractors) from 2016-2020.
Continue Reading OFCCP Issues September 19 Deadline for Federal Contractors to Object to Disclosure of EEO-1 Data

On July 14, 2022, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a proposed rule that would require contractors and subcontractors performing covered service contracts to offer, in good faith, service employees employed under the predecessor contract the right of first refusal of employment under the successor contract. The proposed rule implements President Biden’s November 18, 2021 Executive Order 14055, Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts (the order). In sum, the order establishes a general policy for the federal government that “service contracts which succeed contracts for the same or similar services, and solicitations for such contracts, shall include a non-displacement clause.”
Continue Reading Don’t You Forget About Me: DOL’s Proposed Rule on the Right of First Refusal in Service Contracts

In its recent decision in T.H.R. Enterprises, Inc., the Court of Federal Claims reminds contractors to read claim release language carefully before executing any agreement or modification. T.H.R. Enterprises, Inc. involved an IDIQ contract for renovation work at Langley Air Force Base. The government issued various task orders (TOs) under the overarching IDIQ, and disputes arose between T.H.R. and the government under three of these orders: TOs 22, 25, and 26.
Continue Reading Recent Decision Highlights the Potential Pitfalls in General Releases

Oftentimes, contractors find it difficult to differentiate between the government’s acts taken in its sovereign capacity as opposed to those taken in its contractual capacity. The government acts in its sovereign capacity when it takes actions that are general and public in nature and do not target any particular contractor; rather the impact of the government’s action on its contracts is merely incidental to the purpose of a broader governmental objective. As two recent Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (the Board) decisions involving contractor claims for COVID-19-related costs illustrate, the distinction between these two roles can make or break a contractor’s claim.
Continue Reading The Sovereign Acts Doctrine Strikes Back: COVID Costs Are Its Latest Victim

The GAO’s recent decision in K&K Industries, Inc. reinforces for disappointed offerors that once the government unequivocally states that a debriefing has concluded, the clock has started ticking on the time to file a protest. Notably, this can be true even if the parties continue discussing the offeror’s proposal.

The Background

On September 28, 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) notified K&K Industries, Inc. (K&K) that it had awarded Blinderman Construction, Co. (Blinderman) a contract involving the design and renovation of a historic barracks building in Fort Riley, Kansas. This notice also informed K&K that the company had a right to request a debriefing. K&K timely requested the debriefing and asked that the debriefing include a redacted copy of the Source Selection Decision Document (SSDD).
Continue Reading When Exactly Did My Debriefing End?