The Judgment Fund was established by Congress in 1956 to alleviate the need for specific legislation following every successful claim against the United States. The purpose behind the Judgment Fund was to eliminate the procedural burdens involved in getting an individual appropriation from Congress, allowing for the prompt payment of judgments and reducing the amount of interest accrued between the time the judgment was awarded and payment was made. Although the Judgment Fund successfully eliminated the need for legislative action in almost every case, and in most cases resulted in prompter payments to successful claimants, it also had the unintended consequence of incentivizing procuring agencies to avoid settling meritorious claims in favor of prolonged litigation. Specifically, an agency could avoid making payment from its own appropriated funds if it refused to settle a case and instead sought a decision from a court, subsequently providing it access to the Judgment Fund which draws money straight from the Treasury. Congress eliminated this problem when it passed the Contracts Disputes Act (CDA) of 1978, which requires agencies to reimburse the Judgment Fund with appropriated funds that are current at the time of the judgment against the agency. Although contracting officers are no longer incentivized to avoid settlement, the source and availability of funds can still impact whether or not they decide to settle a claim because there are differences between how a judgment is funded and how a settlement can be funded. 
Continue Reading How the Judgment Fund’s Availability Impacts a Contracting Officer’s Decision to Settle a Claim

Cohen Seglias and Govology Webinar

We are excited to bring you a webinar that we are hosting with Govology and presented by Maria Panichelli. We are happy to provide followers and friends of Cohen Seglias a 25% discount off of this webinar when they register using the code govology25. This is a live webinar that includes on-demand recordings that you will be able to access even if you cannot make the scheduled time. We think you will find this webinar not only informative but also a useful tool!

Date: July 21, 2016Govology Webinar July 21, 2016

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EDT (10:00 a.m. PDT)

Duration: approx. 90 minutes

Continue Reading Webinar on Solving Post-Award Problems Through Change Orders, REAs, and Claims

On January 8, 2015 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a decision in United States v. Triple Canopy, which broadened the reach of the False Claims Act (FCA) by embracing the theory of implied certification. While it is too early to speculate about the impact of the decision, it certainly could

One of the byproducts of the recent use of negotiated procurements under FAR, Part 15, has been the concern, on the part of contractors, that the submission of claims will be a negative factor during the evaluation process on a Request for Proposals.  While we can certainly understand that a contractor who has a history of filing frivolous claims might deserve to be downgraded, we see no valid reason for the government to assign a lower rating to a contractor who has filed meritorious, or good faith, claims in the past.

On February 12, 2006, a provision was added to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) dealing with the review of claims that we find very disturbing.  Under DFARS Subpart 233.2, Disputes and Appeals, Paragraph 233.10, “Contracting Officer’s Authority,” there is a reference to a new “PGI” (Procedures. Guidance and Information). The new guidance states that “When it would be helpful in reviewing the current claim, the contracting officer should get information on claims previously filed by the contractor.  Such information may provide a historical perspective of the nature and accuracy of the claims submitted by the contractor and how they were settled.  Potential sources for the information include the contracting activity’s office of legal counsel, other contracting activities, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency.”

We believe that each claim should stand on its own merits.  Each claim is different and is the result of a different contract, a different set of facts, and is ultimately decided by a different set of legal principles.  In addition, the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 gives contractors the right to file claims.  It seems to us that “guidance” that could potentially penalize contractors for filing claims is most inappropriate.Continue Reading New DFARS Provision Has a "Chilling Effect" on Claims