Industries

Government Contracting

Headed by a former U.S. military officer, Ifrah Law has extensive government contract experience – from procurement to defense and across company profiles.  We have represented major industry players like Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.  We’ve also assisted companies seeking entree in the government procurement process.

Ifrah Lawyers know their way around the federal acquisition regulations and administrative law procedures and counsel clients on effectively pursuing contract opportunities.  When it comes to defense, our legal team includes seasoned litigators well-versed in False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act cases. We handle matters involving cost accounting, internal investigations and compliance reviews, defective pricing, performance disputes and subcontract disputes. We regularly handle matters before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, various Boards of Contract Appeals and the Government Accountability Office.

 

Defense of Retaliatory Discharge Case Results in Precedent-Setting Ruling

Ifrah’s defense of its clients, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions LLC (“TAES”) and Scott Torres, who were charged in a retaliatory discharge case, not only turned out to be a victory for the defendants, but it was also a resounding victory for employers and the court system. The ruling, made in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, set important precedent regarding federal pre-emption in worker’s compensation issues overseas and retaliatory discharge charges.

Two former employees of Ifrah’s clients claimed that they were improperly discharged in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim under the Defense Base Act (“DBA”) and Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act. They were working for TAES at Forward Operating Base Shield in Iraq when they were discharged.

Ifrah argued that the DBA provided the exclusive remedy for the plaintiffs’ causes of action and otherwise preempted their case. In a 26-page opinion, the judge dismissed all four counts of the First-Amended Complaint, agreeing with Ifrah’s argument. She further held that plaintiffs’ remaining common-law causes of action, including breach of contract, were preempted under the DBA. Specifically, she noted in her opinion that federal courts across the country have found that the DBA expressly preempts other remedies state law affords to similarly-situated plaintiffs. Accordingly, the doctrine of conflict preemption barred plaintiffs’ common-law claims and mandated their dismissal.

Despite the lack of clear precedent on the issue, the opinion clearly establishes as the law of Washington, D.C. that employees subject to a federal workers’ compensation plan must exhaust their administrative remedies first before filing an action in court. The decision will result in the saving of time and expenses related to litigating complex retaliatory discharge claims that can otherwise be resolved more efficiently in the administrative context.

 

Successfully Obtaining a Preliminary Injunction at the Court of Federal Claims

Our client, a long-time government contractor, rightly turned to Ifrah Law when it suspected a competitor had violated FAR regulations. Our client submitted a proposal in response to a government RFP to provide seminars and library services to detainees at the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. The RFP stated that this would be a “lowest price technically available” (LPTA) contract.

Our client’s proposal was unsuccessful, and they moved to challenge the award. Our critical review of the record revealed that the successful bidder may have utilized unbalanced pricing. We successfully argued that our client’s pricing was balanced and potentially fairer to the government – a difficult argument to make in LPTA solicitations because of the discretion granted to contracting officers. Our challenge was successful and following the court’s order granting a preliminary injunction, the government was forced to take corrective action.

(Torres AES v. United States, 1:13-cv-00898 (Damich, J.))

 

Effectively Advocating for a Government Contractor Facing Debarment

Having spent over 30 years in the environmental and renewable energy industry, our client was dismayed when he received a Notice of Suspension and Proposed Debarment (the Notice) from the EPA. Facing the possibility of a three-year debarment, our client knew that such a black mark would mean not only the end of his company, but also the end of his career.

Ifrah Law set to work on contesting the Notice and addressing the mitigating and aggravating factors. While our written response was strong, the bold and clearly reasoned advocacy we provided during the oral argument had the biggest impact on the case. Ifrah argued that this was a one-time oversight during an alleged emergency situation, for which our client was truly remorseful. But we took the additional step of arguing that that our client never should have been prosecuted in the first place, and that he was the victim of an overzealous prosecutor.

After the record closed, we were told that a settlement of two years was feasible, but we refused to settle. When the decision was rendered, our client faced no debarment whatsoever, allowing him to resume his government contracting business immediately. The EPA legal counsel involved in this matter told us that the advocating we did on our client’s behalf was one of the best she has ever seen.

 

Successfully Defending a Government Contractor Against a Competitor Protest

A government contractor was awarded a 100% small-business set-aside IDIQ contract, but its success was soon jeopardized. Shortly after contract award, a competitor filed a size protest that challenged the contract award and alleged the government contractor was not a small business because of its affiliation with a larger company. Because of the potentially crippling loss of the entire contract award, the government contractor quickly turned to the expertise and advocacy of Ifrah Law to represent the company before the SBA.

We successfully defended the company against the size protest and the SBA issued a determination that our client qualified as a small business. The outcome of the matter ensured that the contract award remained in place.

 

Prevailing in a Government Contractor’s Debarment Proceeding

How long should your past haunt you? A client of Ifrah Law faced that question when it was confronted with a potentially crippling debarment from a federal agency.

The government contractor had participated in a conspiracy to bribe a public official for a contract award. However, it was the first to cooperate in the resulting federal investigation, which led to a successful conviction. Fast forward four years, and the Department of Defense moved to debar our client. The DoD had already placed the contractor on the Excluded Parties List System (EPLS) but wanted to go a step further. Debarment would have been devastating for our client’s business, resulting in an almost complete loss of revenue.

Presenting the client’s strong performance record since the bribery incident (we even got the prosecutor from the contract bribery case to write a letter to the court on our client’s behalf), Ifrah Lawyers successfully represented the contractor in the debarment proceeding. We obtained a decision of no debarment period at all.

 

Protesting Procurement Irregularities to Keep a Client in Competition

A client contractor participated in a procurement competition over a multi-award contract with the Department of the Army that was valued at almost half a billion dollars. After submitting a proposal, our client (along with other bidders) was excluded from the competition because of a deficiency in a proposed labor rate. The other excluded parties protested to the Government Accountability Office, and the Army permitted five of the protesting parties to rejoin the bidding process.

With just a week left before the final proposal revisions were due, our client asked us for help. We filed a U.S. Court of Federal Claims protest asking to reverse the exclusion based on irregularities in the procurement process. We also asked for an injunction to prevent the bidding process from ending.

As a result of our filing and subsequent negotiations with the Department of Justice, our client was permitted to rejoin the bidding and to submit a revised bid.

(Platinum Business Corporation, et al. v. United States, 1:12-cv-00001, Court of Federal Claims, Bid Protest (2012))

 

Supreme Court Expands Whistleblower Protection

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that Sarbanes–Oxley extends whistleblower protection, not just to employees of public companies, but to employees of private contractors and subcontractors that serve public companies. In a 6-3 decision, the Court rejected the First Circuit’s narrow construction of the statute in favor of the Labor Department’s more expansive interpretation. Now […]

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Conspirators Get Prison Time for Defrauding Small Business 8(a) Program

White-collar crime can involve any number of types of fraud against the government or private parties. One that isn’t usually thought about but can result in serious jail time involves conspiracies to obtain government contracts fraudulently by setting up bogus small and minority-owned businesses in order to qualify for government preferences. In the past few […]

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DOJ Should Not Withhold Information From Defense in High-Profile Leak Case

Lawyers for Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former federal contractor employee accused of unlawfully disclosing sensitive information, recently filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia criticizing the government’s withholding of information in the case and asking the court to order the government to produce the documents. The government should not […]

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