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The impact of COVID-19, the ensuing delays and changes in the work, protecting the contractor’s cash flow, and avoiding a default termination are now top of mind for every construction contractor. This article reviews delay principles, changes in the work, default and convenience terminations, illness of key personnel, stop work orders, and other considerations related to claims and defenses arising from COVID-19. Contractors must be alert to the practical aspects of entitlement and recovery under the clauses that come into play.
Continue Reading COVID-19’s Impact on the Government Construction Contractor’s Performance: Recognizing and Implementing the Appropriate Claims and Defenses

With the exponential spread of COVID-19, owners, contractors, and design professionals are recognizing the substantial impact this pandemic will have on the construction industry. Several states issued shelter-in-place orders, resulting in the suspension of some construction work.[1] In some states, this has resulted in work stoppages on some of our nation’s largest infrastructure projects. The financial impact of these work stoppages will be significant. As a result, parties to construction agreements have looked to their force majeure clauses for guidance on how these issues should be addressed.
Continue Reading Coronavirus Pandemic: My Construction Agreement Has a Force Majeure Clause, So Now What?

On March 13, 2020, President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Such a declaration has significant implications on the contracting community navigating the federal procurement process. While contractors are undoubtedly trying to manage existing contracts in light of labor and supply chain disruptions, many will be looking at the procurement landscape for business opportunities. Federal procurement law contains a number of provisions that authorize streamlined procurement procedures for major disasters or national emergencies. This article addresses the procedures that federal agencies may employ during a national emergency such as COVID-19. Because these procedures do not often look like typical procurement procedures, contractors should be mindful of the rules to better position themselves as they seek out opportunities.
Continue Reading Federal Procurement Procedures During a National Emergency

Federal contractors already subject to a myriad of reporting requirements should be prepared for yet another. Effective December 23, 2019, a new Federal Acquisition Regulation (“FAR”) provision entitled “Reporting of Nonconforming Items to the Government Industry Data Exchange Program” requires federal contractors and subcontractors to report to the Government-Industry Data Exchange Program (“GIDEP”) certain counterfeit or suspect counterfeit parts and certain major or critical nonconformances. The new FAR provision (48 C.F.R. § 46.317) and clause (FAR 52.246-26) applies to both civilian and defense contracts over the simplified acquisition threshold, currently $150,000.

Where did this rule come from?


Continue Reading New Federal Contract Reporting Requirements Aimed at Protecting Supply Chains Through Detection of Counterfeit Parts

Foreign states and their agencies engage in a variety of construction projects in the United States, all of which are subject to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSA”).[1] This article explains some of the key aspects of the FSA that foreign governments and contractors should consider when engaging in those projects.

Foreign States and Their Agencies

Foreign states are treated differently from their agencies for certain aspects of the FSA. In deciding whether an entity is the foreign state itself or an agency of it, courts typically evaluate the entity’s primary purpose. If governmental, the entity is considered the foreign state itself, and if commercial, the entity is considered an agency. One line of cases holds if the entity is an integral part of a foreign state’s political structure, it is considered the foreign state itself.
Continue Reading Foreign Governments Contracting for Construction in the United States: Navigating the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

On October 23–24, 2019, Seyfarth attorneys Teddie Arnold, Joe Dyer, and Anthony LaPlaca will be presenting the Seyfarth Shaw Government Contracts Handbook at a 2-day seminar in Sterling, Virginia.  This presentation will educate attendees on various components of federal government contracting, including Congressional oversight initiatives, procurement and formation issues, strategies for self-governance and compliance, claims

Introduction 

Congress enacted the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (CDA)[1] to “provide a fair, balanced, and comprehensive statutory system of legal and administrative remedies in resolving government contract claims.”[2]  But for many involved in public construction projects, the CDA does not always feel like a fair or comprehensive scheme for resolving disputes caused by the acts or omissions of the Government.  In particular, subcontractors and suppliers are barred by principles of sovereign immunity from suing procuring agencies directly where Government representatives impact, delay, or increase the cost of the work.[3]  Because subcontractors and suppliers lack privity with the agency, their recourse for Government interference is limited to “pass-through” or “sponsored” claims, which hinge on the general contractor’s willingness to take up the torch on their behalf.[4] 
Continue Reading On the Effective Use of Liquidating Agreements

President Trump continues to push forward with his “Buy American, Hire American” initiative with the issuance of his third Executive Order No. 13881 (the “Order”) on July 15, 2019, entitled “Maximizing Use of American-Made Goods, Products, and Materials.” This Order attempts to strengthen the standards that federal agencies must follow under the Buy American Act (“BAA”) by raising the threshold for domestic purchasing requirements.
Continue Reading President Trump Issues Third Installment of Buy American Initiative

Congress enacted the Buy American Act (“BAA”) during the Great Depression, in order to protect American industry from foreign competition on federal procurement contracts. While the BAA is simplistic in its policy goal of promoting domestic purchasing, government contractors and subcontractors are often faced with complex and confusing rules for compliance.
Continue Reading The Two-Part Manufacturing Test Under the Buy American Act

On April 25 and 26, James Newland, partner in Seyfarth’s Construction Practice Group, will be presenting the “Changes and Claims in Government Construction Contracting” course at the Federal Publications Seminar at the Executive Conference and Training Center in Sterling, Virginia. His presentation will focus on owner changes and contractor claims in the federal government contracting