In a recent case, a government contracting agency won on its motion to dismiss an appeal under the Contract Disputes Act because the claim was essential a request for routine payment. Businesses must be aware of the dangerous problem because it can impair the court’s jurisdiction to hear the appeal
- It is important to know that an objection to the federal court’s jurisdiction can be raised in any stage of litigation even if after the court enters a decision on the dispute.
- An appeals court must dismiss the complaint about a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Basic Requirements of Contract Disputes Act: When submitting claims against the federal government, you must meet the Contract Disputes Act requirements. Such an application must provide the contracting officer with “a clear and unequivocal statement that gives the contracting officer adequate notice of the basis and amount of the claim.”
If you fail to meet the basic requirements, the government will try to dismiss your case on appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Submitting Billing Information Constitutes a Routine Request for Payment: Courts have often ruled that presenting billing information to the government does not meet the CDA certification requirements. For example, submitting invoices to recover payment for services rendered does not meet the Contract Disputes Act requirements. Examples of routine requests for payment include invoices for completed work, requests for scheduled progress payments, and vouchers for disbursement under a cost-reimbursement contract.”
Fraudulent Claims Under Contract Disputes Act
When you submit a Contract Disputes Act Claim, and the agency finds your claim fraudulent, the Contract Disputes Act does not apply. Government contractors would find themselves litigating the alleged fraud issue before any damages are paid.
Liability to Government: When federal contractors cannot support any part of their Contract Disputes Act claim, and such inability is because there was a misrepresentation of fact or fraud, companies must pay the government the amount of the unsupported part of the claim. Contractors must also pay all of the Federal Government’s costs for reviewing the unsupported part of the claim. The government has to make its determination within six years of the alleged misrepresentation of fact or fraud. See information about the notice of contract termination.
Would the Court Give You a Break on Appeal?
No, the court will not. Federal contracting statutes are very clear. Many court cases have been dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
The best approach is to learn the do’s and don ts when filing a claim against the federal government.
If you are confused or want to save costs on unnecessary litigation, call our contract disputes lawyers are 1-866-601-5518.