Federal Government Contract Claims & Dispute Lawyers

Federal government contract dispute lawyers Offering Nationwide and International Help For Contractors Needing Help to Increase Their Chances of Getting Paid in Government Contract Disputes Act Claims. We Help Contractors to Avoid the Most Costly Mistakes with Federal Procurement Claims.

federal government contract claims attorney and contract disputes lawyer

At Watson & Associates, LLC, we frequently help small businesses and larger DOD contractor to prepare, litigate and appeal federal contract claims. We understand the in many cases, the contracting officer may deny your claim for technical reasons and not so much on the merits.

When it comes to contractor claims against the government, our goal is to help you to carefully assess the details, the contract terms and conditions.

In addition to providing federal contracting help, we are also government contract claims lawyers who frequently practice before the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA), Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA), US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Federal Contract Claims and Contract Disputes Act Attorney Services

Regardless of your industry, you more than likely will have to analyze or decide how you want to proceed. When handling contractor claims against the government, Our CO and Washington DC government contract disputes attorneys stand ready to guide you through the laws and regulations that govern.

Call  Our Government Contract Claims Lawyers today. 1-866-601-5518 or 202-827-9750.

See How to Defend Qui Tam and False Claims Act charges that Involve Government Contracts

You must understand the legal requirements for submitting federal contract claims Under the Government Contract Disputes Act

Government Contract termination lawyersAs stated earlier, the FAR Disputes Act is generally the underlying law that will protect you on the back end of your claim. Many federal contract claims are disputed either for preparation and technical disputes.

For appeals and litigation at the Board of Contract Appeals or Court of Federal Claims, the contentions are usually whether there was a contracting officer’s final decision; whether the court has appellate jurisdiction to hear the case; the merits of the claim and whether the contractor is entitled to payment and damages. Our government contract claim disputes lawyers help with these various matters.

FAR Contract Disputes Act Requirements for Contractor Claims Against the Government

To meet the basic Contract Disputes Act requirements for filing a federal contract claim to the contracting officer your claim must contain the following:

  1. A written demand or assertion or payment or some other relief under the contract. This must allow the contracting officer to have enough notice of what you are seeking
  2. The claim must be for a sum certain, adjustment or interpretation of contract terms, or other relief arising under or relating to a contract between the government and the contractor.
  3. Federal contract claims exceeding $100,000.00 must be certified by the contractor. You must certify that
    1. the claim is being asserted in good faith,
    2. the supporting data is accurate and complete to the best of the contractor’s knowledge,
    3. the amount requested is accurate, and
    4. the person asserting the claim is duly authorized to certify the claim.
  4. You must ask for a contracting officer’s final decision.

Tip: Federal contract claims that fall under the Contract Disputes Act must be filed within the six-year statute of limitations.

Tip: All Federal contract claims must be submitted to the contracting officer and no one else.

FAR 52.233 1 Disputes Requirements

FAR 52.223-1 spells out that “Claim,” means a written demand or written assertion by one of the contracting parties seeking (usually the contractor), as a matter of right, the payment of money in a sum certain, the adjustment or interpretation of contract terms, or other relief arising under or relating to this contract. 

FAR 52.223-1 also states that a written demand or written assertion by the contractor seeking the payment of money exceeding $100,000 is not a claim under 41 U.S.C chapter 71 until the contractor has certified the claim. A voucher, invoice, or another routine request for payment that is not in dispute when submitted is not a claim under 41 U.S.C chapter 71.

FAR 52.223 1 states that the submission may be converted to a claim under 41 U.S.C chapter 71, by complying with the submission and certification requirements, if it is disputed either as to liability or amount or is not acted upon in a reasonable time.

Contractor Claims and Contract Disputes Act Statute of Limitations

 A claim by the Contractor shall be made in writing and unless otherwise stated in this contract, submitted within 6 years after accrual of the claim to the Contracting Officer for a written decision. Contractors are required to meet the Contract Disputes Act statute of limitations – no exceptions unless tolled. The timeline is also binding on the government. A claim by the Government against the Contractor shall be subject to a written decision by the Contracting Officer.

What are the Costly Legal Mistakes Seen With Contract Disputes Act Claims?

Statute of limitations: Oftentimes, the contractor will have a legitimate claim. However, by not fully understanding how to calculate the statute of limitations, government contract claims are submitted late. The contracting officer will have no problem denying the claim in its entirety. When you appeal the decision to the ASBCA, CBCA or Court of Federal Claims, the case may get dismissed because the statute of limitations has passed.

Your claim does not meet the CDA requirements: This is a common problem after the contracting officer receives the claim. However, there are some issues that can be repaired even during the litigation stages. If the government’s attorneys file a motion to dismiss for lack of certification, there are some potential remedies to resolve the issue. In other situations, the substance of the claim is lacking and does not give the contracting officer enough information. If the claim does not meet the Contract Disputes Act requirements, then the appellate court lacks jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

No final written decision of the contracting officer: Your contract claim disputes should always request a contracting officer’s final decision. companies should keep in mind that courts give the agency great discretion to inquire and request additional information. Sometimes this can be quite frustrating. However, if there is no contracting officer’s final decision, there can be a problem on appeal.

Appellate Court does not have jurisdiction: This another common mistake made when litigating government contract claim cases. This is one reason why contractors should seek help from legal counsel before filing an appeal.

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Help With FAR and DOD Contractor’s Release of Claims Form

One of the issues that come up more often is when there is a release of claims form signed by the contract. Courts look at a release as a serious contractual obligation.  When a contractor executes a release that is complete on its face and reflects the contractor’s unconditional acceptance and agreement with its terms, the release will be binding on the government and the contractor.

Protect your company from dangerous court decisions: Sometimes, you may have resolved previous claims on the instant project that you have now submitted a new government claim. There are cases where the government has refused to pay due to an alleged accord and satisfaction because of the previous release of contract claims. This can be a serious hurdle to overcome. However, there are certain circumstances where courts have overturned the contractor release of claims. 

  • Do not simply sign the FAR release of claims unless you preserve what future issues you want to protect.
  • Make the reservation language in your lease clear that you are not waiving the specific issue at hand
  • Courts are very strict on contractor releases

Appellate courts in government contracting look at contractor release language as contractual in nature and thus to be “interpreted in the same manner as any other contract term or provision.” See Bell BCI Co. v. United States, 570 F.3d 1337, 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (citing Metric Constructors, Inc. v. United States, 314 F.3d 578,579(Fed.Cir.2002)).

  • Courts look at the interpretation of a contractor release of claims  to be a question of law that is often amenable to summary disposition. If not protected, the agency may file for a motion to dismiss or summary judgement.
  •  When a contractor executes a FAR release of claim where the language is complete on its face and reflects the contractor’s unconditional acceptance and agreement with its terms, the release will be binding on both parties. See Turner Construction Co. v. General Services Administration, GSBCA 15502, et al., 05-1 BCA ¶ 32,924, at 163,097. Thus, the intent of a release is to “put an end to the matter in controversy.” Mingus Constructors, Inc., 812 F.2d at 1394.

This is another area where our Watson’s federal contract claims attorneys can help.

Construction Federal Contract Claims & Disputes

Small businesses and large prime contractors doing business with the federal government often find themselves at odds with the government when it comes to construction contract claims and disputes. The primary issue is generally the previous communications with the contracting officer; mistakenly taking directions from the Contracting Officer Representative (COR). Watson’s federal contract claims attorneys can help with these types of cases at the agency level or at the appeals level.

Appeal of the Contracting Officer’s Final Decision 

When the contracting officer issues a final decision on your claim, you can appeal the decision to the respective board of contract appeals within the stated deadline in your letter, or you can appeal to the Court of Federal Claims within one year.

Appealing the contracting officer’s final decision can be confusing and tricky. The appellate process is not a place to relitigate issues not presented to the contracting officer. However, you must show that the agency decision was unreasonable, an abuse of discretion or somehow violated procurement law. Having a contract dispute lawyer that understands the issues for litigation and appeals is essential to presenting the case to the court or you may risk losing the case for lack of jurisdiction.

Appellate Court Jurisdiction to Hear Your Case

This is a constant problem where companies spend tens of thousands of dollars.

When the contracting officer issues a final decision denying your claim, many companies quickly appeal to government claims. However, the agency also quickly files a motion to dismiss by alleging that the Court does not have jurisdiction to heat the appeal.

The common reasons for the agency’s motion to dismiss is either there was no decision of the contracting officer or that your government contract claim did not meet the statutory requirements for the Contract Disputes Act.

Call Our Contract Dispute Lawyers and Government Contract Claims Appeal Attorneys

If you are looking to conquer claims and contracting loopholes to avoid paying your company,Hire Watson’s federal government contract claims lawyers for help with  the Contract Disputes Act of 1978.  Contact our Washington, DC government contractor dispute lawyers.

Call for a Free Initial Consultation. Toll-Free 1-866-601-5518.

We Practice Exclusively in the Areas of Federal Law in Washington DC.