Tips on Avoiding the Unsettling Results of a Poorly-Drafted Settlement Agreement

Well done! Through your reasoned approach and powers of persuasion, you have managed to resolve the pending contract dispute on your own, and thus have avoided that costly telephone call to the litigator in your attorneys’ office and the uncertainty that comes with putting your dispute before a judge or arbitrator for resolution. As you reflect on the expense that your efforts have saved the company and contemplate a possible second career as a diplomat, a draft settlement agreement arrives . . . Read More

Qui Tam Actions on the Rise, but they Fall Short When the DOJ Does Not Intervene

By Ambi Biggs The number of qui tam actions–lawsuits brought by whistleblowers on behalf of the United States–has increased in recent years, more than doubling from 2003 to 2013. The primary federal statute under which qui tam actions can be brought is the False Claims Act (“FCA”), 31 U.S.C. § 3729, et seq. Under the FCA, anyone who knowingly presents a false or fraudulent claim to the government for payment or approval or knowingly makes or uses a false record . . . Read More

STOP, THIEF! – How to Keep Your “Secret Sauce” In-House, When an Employee Is Lured to Greener Pastures

No matter how collegial and successful a workplace you have created for your employees, attrition is an inevitable fact of life in business, and in government contracting in particular. And when departing personnel have been privy to hard-won confidential and proprietary company data, the thought of that information falling into the hands of a competitor have caused many a sleepless night for business owners. This article is intended to outline some steps that the prudent executive should take to preserve . . . Read More

Mediation: The Conflict Resolution of Choice for Many Business Disputes

Chances are that your company, at some point, has entered into a contract that contains a provision requiring that the parties engage in a form of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”) either in lieu of, or prior to, instituting a lawsuit to settle a dispute. Contractual ADR provisions usually call for the parties to either engage in binding arbitration, typically under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), or to submit the matter to non-binding mediation prior to filing suit. It is a . . . Read More

“Justice Delayed?” Not here. Be prepared for the “Rocket Docket”

As you arrive at the front door of the courthouse of the Alexandria Division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (“EDVA”), you are met with a sculpture of a blindfolded Lady Justice bearing the slogan “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.” And believe me, they are not kidding. Resolution of your business dispute will occur at breakneck speed, so be prepared! Known nationally as the “Rocket Docket,” the EDVA resolves cases at a pace roughly twice as fast as that for federal courts nationally; the average time from the . . . Read More

What to Do When an Investigator Comes Knocking

Our firm has observed a significant uptick in the investigation of government contractors in the last few years. This is driven, in large part, by a political and regulatory environment that assumes fraud, waste and abuse are endemic in the government contracting space. Operating in this environment, contractors should have plans in place to deal with government investigators. We usually recommend that firms take the following steps in the event an investigator comes knocking at their door: Contact your legal . . . Read More

“Are You Being Served?” If So, Your ESI Must Be Preserved!

Unlike the classic British sitcom “Are You Being Served?”, as any business owner who has been on the receiving end of a threat of litigation or was served with a complaint can attest, there is nothing remotely amusing about what is in store for the company. And one of the most challenging, time-consuming and costly aspects of litigation is the discovery process—whereby each side, if asked through interrogatories and document requests, must show its respective hand, in the process producing . . . Read More