A Blank Rome government contracts team obtained relief for Qbase LLC in a protest before the U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) involving the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) failure to award a $4.5 billion IT support contract to Qbase, a computer-related services and consulting provider.
The GAO concluded that the DOJ’s determination of which contract proposal provided the best value to the government was unreasonable because the DOJ failed to meaningfully consider the price of the proposals. Moreover, in its assessment of the proposals’ technical merit, instead of performing the required qualitative assessment of each offeror’s technical proposal, the DOJ unreasonably based its determination on a mechanical comparison of adjectival ratings (“very good,” “satisfactory”) between the offerors. In its decision, the GAO stated, “In sum, the agency’s best-value determination is unreasonable because the agency performed a mechanical tradeoff analysis that failed to meaningfully consider price and resulted in the exclusion of technically acceptable proposals from consideration for award.” The GAO sustained the protest, recommended that the DOJ conduct a new best-value analysis giving proper weight to pricing, and awarded Qbase its attorneys’ fees.
In a significant decision regarding the application of the False Claims Act (FCA) to firm-fixed price procurement contracts, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida recently held that a government contractor working under a fixed-price contract is not liable under the FCA for higher than expected profits and “failing to notify the Government that the work could be performed less expensively and charged a lower price” than the contract price. U.S. ex rel. Prime v. Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc., 2013 WL 4506357, No. 6:10-cv-1950 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 23, 2013).
The defendant was a joint venture that had entered into a fixed price indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract with the government to provide architect and engineering services for an Everglades restoration project overseen by the Army Corps of Engineers. As the project was a first-of-its-kind effort, the Corps planned to reduce its cost risk by using a fixed-price contract performed through task orders. The ID/IQ contract provided negotiated fixed-price labor rates and a negotiated profit component, derived primarily from past Corps contract experience. Subsequent fixed-price task orders were lump-sum, determined in accordance with the agreed-upon labor rates multiplied by the number of days required to complete the work, and included the agreed-upon profit component. The joint venture saw its profit margin increase through the use of efficient staffing of task orders with lower-cost resources than those contemplated in the original ID/IQ formulas. Continue reading “Increased Profit Under a Firm-Fixed Price Contract a False Claim? Not So Says One Federal District Court”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza virus that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs. The classical swine flu virus (an influenza type A H1N1 virus) was first isolated from a pig in 1930. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with swine flu have occurred and are occurring now.
What is Known About this Current Outbreak?
According to the CDC, in late March and early April 2009, cases of human infection with swine influenza A (H1N1) viruses were first reported in Southern California and near San Antonio, Texas. Other states and foreign governments have reported cases of swine flu infection in humans, and cases have been reported internationally as well. As of April 30, 2009, there have been 109 cases reported in the United States, with most in New York City, California, and Texas. A toddler who crossed the border from Mexico into south Texas died from a new strain of swine flu on April 29, 2009 in a Houston hospital, the first confirmed death from the virus in the United States. Continue reading “Update on the Government Response to the Potential Swine Flu Pandemic”