We provide value-driven counsel on the nuanced risks, obligations and business issues enabling successful commercial relationships with government entities.
Entering a contract with a governmental entity or agency carries risks as well as rewards. The laws and regulations governing government contracts are unique and vary greatly from the laws applicable to commercial sales.
We work closely with companies to help them take advantage of the opportunities associated with federal, state and local government contracts. Beyond the contracts, we make sure our clients also understand the risks, obligations and larger business issues associated with them.
Our lawyers handle multibillion-dollar transactions and litigation with the U.S., state and municipal governments and help small and mid-size companies enter the federal procurement marketplace. We assist and counsel clients throughout the entire life-cycle of government contracts, from negotiation to close-out. We represent contractors in litigation and other proceedings before various courts and administrative agencies.
Who we work with
- Government Contractors
- Subcontractors to Government Contractors
- Suppliers of Goods and Services to Government agencies
- Small Disadvantaged Businesses
- Commercial entities seeking to become Government Contractors or Subcontractors
- U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranked as National Tier One in Commercial Litigation, Litigation—First Amendment, Litigation—Labor & Employment and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants. Received Tier One Metropolitan Honors in Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense: White Collar, Litigation—Securities, Litigation—Bankruptcy, Litigation ERISA, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions—Defendants, Product Liability Litigation—Defendants, Litigation—Construction and in Civil Rights Law in numerous cities throughout the U.S.
- BTI Litigation Outlook 2013
- “Most Feared Law Firm”—Honor Roll
- Strong Performance—Commercial Litigation, IP Litigation, Product Liability Litigation
- Chambers USA/Global
- Legal 500
- Benchmark: Litigation/Appellate
Contract formation and negotiation: The first steps of any government contract are submitting the bid for the contract and dealing with the forms, terms and clauses of the contract. We have advised both bidders and government agencies with respect to the bidding process. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
- We have helped government agencies to overhaul their bidding process, establishing rules and procedures for drafting requests for proposal, responding to questions from potential bidders and developing a framework for evaluating bids and selecting the winning proposal.
- We have also advised bidders concerning the bidding process and assisted in drafting proposals. We have assisted successful bidders in finalizing the terms of government contracts and subcontracts, including advising them on establishing procedures and structures to satisfy compliance obligations.
- We advise both contractors and subcontractors concerning aspects of government contract law that may impact their business arrangements in unexpected ways. This includes advising them on aspects of the Assignment of Claims Act, which may affect their financing arrangements and on “flow-through” obligations, which may impose a wide variety of federal labor, environmental and anti-discrimination rules and other requirements on subcontractors in the federal contracting arena.
Protests and claims: We have defended and challenged contract awards before federal agencies, at the General Accountability Office, in the Court of Federal Claims and in state agencies and courts involving a full range of protest issues, including improper sole source decisions, IDIQ evaluations, small business size determinations and HUBZone protests. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
Litigation: We have significant experience with litigation concerning every aspect of government contracts. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
- Successfully appealed an adverse decision of the Small Business Administration to sustain a HUBZone protest against our client, securing our client’s multi-million dollar contract award.
- Successfully represented master real estate developer of Ballpark District in litigation relating to real estate development rights surrounding new baseball stadium in Washington, D.C., Monument Realty, Inc. v. Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 535 F.Supp. 2d 60 (D.D.C. 2008), 540 F.Supp. 2d 66 (D.D.C. 2008)
Investigations and qui tam litigation: We have handled many cases and investigations involving allegations of wrongdoing. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
- Successfully represented Signature Flight Support Corporation in a multimillion dollar ground sublease dispute involving a Signature sublessee, Landow Aviation and Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, at the Washington Dulles International Airport, Signature Flight Support Corporation v. Landow Aviation Limited Partnership, Case No. 1:08cv955, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24877 (E.D. Va. March 17, 2010) obtaining declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, affecting general aviation rights at Washington’s Dulles Airport for the next 25 years and recovering substantial attorney’s fees
- Representation of a federal grant applicant who was denied grant payments under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a case of first impression, we filed suit under the Tucker Act in the Court of Federal Claims alleging that the United States’ Department of the Treasury wrongfully denied the grant payments
- In multiple cases, we represent a group of owners who seek contractual damages arising from federal legislation and the United States Housing and Urban Development rules that breached the rent adjustment provisions of the owners’ Section 8 housing assistance payments contracts. In one of these cases, the court has confirmed that the government breached the contracts and parties are attempting to determine damages.
- We represent a nationwide group of owners of multifamily housing who are suing the U.S. government for a taking that occurred when they were prohibited from prepaying their HUD-insured mortgage loans, in violation of the terms of the loan documents.
- Representation of a German contractor in a dispute against the Defense Department concerning a construction contract at a U.S. military base in Germany.
- Representation of a large construction company awarded a multi-million-dollar state government construction contract; providing legal guidance on project management and claims preparation in anticipation of litigation against the state agency based upon the awarded government contract
Mergers and acquisitions: We work seamlessly with our mergers and acquisitions team in conducting due diligence reviews of government contracts, assisting companies in navigating export control laws and counseling clients acquiring government contractor entities. Examples of our experience in this area include the following:
- Representation of a public company concerning a contract with the United States in which it sold technology to assist the Department of Homeland Security. Representation of the company in connection with an investigation involving allegations of potential false claims, false statements and fraud. This matter also involves a whistleblower, who is most likely working with the government. To date, we have assisted in discussions with the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security and with responding to multiple administrative subpoenas that have required a massive electronic discovery undertaking.
- Representation of a contractor that provided services to assist in military operations in Southwest Asia that is currently under investigation with allegations concerning fraud, false certifications and billing issues. This matter has also involved subpoenas and discussions with the Department of Justice (concerning both criminal and civil components).
- Successfully obtained dismissal of a qui tam False Claims Act case against client who held a contract with the United States Army at the Tobyhanna Army Depot. An employee who worked at the Depot alleged that his termination was in retaliation for raising FCA concerns. We filed a detailed motion to dismiss and were able to obtain dismissal prior to any discovery in the matter.
- We have supported European aerospace and defense companies in connection with acquisitions in the following industries and industry sectors: commercial satellite payload designer and manufacturer, satellite launcher designer and manufacturer, commercial and military aircraft maintenance services, geospatial satellite services, aircraft instrument maintenance services, military aircraft overhaul and customization, security network equipment and services, general Department of Defense services contracting, military ship design and secured network systems.
- We have worked with an industry-leading French company in its multi-stage acquisition of a U.S.-based chemicals company serving nuclear and other energy-related sectors.
Specialty advice (e.g., CAS compliance): We have extensive experience in assisting contractors with compliance issues. We have conducted compliance reviews and designed compliance policy and training programs on various topics including cost and pricing data; ethical requirements; FAR-required codes; labor, employment, safety and wage/hour compliance; and mandatory disclosure obligations. As a recent example, we devised a compliance program and provided accompanying training on the above topics for a subcontractor that provides parts for use by the United States military.
- Policy Change Puts Past Performance in Spotlight
Washington Post | August 19, 2013
Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation and Government Contracts counsel Vince Napoleon discusses a new federal policy standardizing past performance information so that agencies can share similar information about how well contractors completed past work.
- Defense Contract Audit Agency's Access to Contractor Internal Audit Reports
Public Contract Law Journal | June 1, 2013
Washington, DC, Government Contracts and Commercial Litigation counsel Vince Napoleon and Washington, DC, Commercial Litigation associate Shanelle Henry authored this column addressing the question of whether United States v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. continues to be the standard for guiding the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) auditors’ access to internal audit materials.
- Q&A With Nixon Peabody's Vincent Napoleon
Government Contracts Law360 | March 7, 2013
This Q&A profiles Washington, D.C. commercial litigation and government contracts counsel Vince Napoleon.