Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Government Contracts Litigation

Introduction Print

For more than 29 years, Quinn Emanuel has been home of one of the most successful government contract practices in the country.  Dispute resolution of government contract controversies depends on specialized forums and a particularized body of law; yet success depends on litigation strategies used in commercial litigation.  In other words, winning government contracts litigation should involve a felicitous blending of knowledge and litigation expertise.  Our firm is an expert in both skills. 

Our representations of government contractors have involved virtually all the substantive issues arising out of doing business with the government. Such issues come into play both in lawsuits involving government agencies directly and in disputes between commercial parties, such as subcontractors and prime contractors, in which the relationship derives from a government contract and its use of "flow-down" provisions. We have substantial expertise in government accounting, cost allowability, defective pricing, claims identification and analysis, intellectual property protection, bid protests, debarment and suspension, contract terminations, and contract changes.  Our experience also covers all key industry sectors – aerospace and defense, electronics, IT, communications, technical services, financial, construction, transportation, health care and the life sciences fields.  We have tried cases in all of the major government contract forums.

A significant portion of our work in this area relates to matters alleging criminal or civil fraud.  Those matters typically involve complex accounting issues springing from the regulatory overlay peculiar to government contracting.  We represent industry leaders as well as small and emerging companies and organizations.  Many of our partners are former assistant U.S. attorneys who bring to bear their extensive experience in trying criminal and civil False Claims Act cases.  Additionally, we have been involved significantly in international procurement disputes, appearing before the International Chamber of Commerce, the London Court of International Arbitration and, in one long trial, the Federal Court of Australia.

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Recent Representations Print

  • We advised Dubai Ports World ("DPW") in negotiating an optimal settlement with the Republic of Yemen and its state-owned company the Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation ("YGAPC"), whereby the U.A.E.-based port operator recovered 80% of the value of its claims and divested its entire interests in the troubled joint venture company established with Yemen and YGAPC to develop, operate and manage two container terminals in Aden, Yemen.
  • We achieved the complete abandonment of an investigation by the Justice Department into claims potentially valued at more than half billion dollars against a major U.S. aerospace and defense contractor. We were engaged midway through a seven year investigation after the U.S. government had contended that the contractor was negligent and had committed violations of the False Claims Act amounting to potentially more than $600 million in damages. After multiple presentations by our attorneys arguing that the government's case was not supportable under the False Claims Act, government contract regulations or negligence law, the government decided to drop the investigation without taking any action.
  • We obtained complete dismissal of all claims in a qui tam/False Claims Act case on behalf of Northrop Grumman. Realtor sought over $1 billion arising out of alleged wrongful billings in connection with $4.5 billion satellite project for the U.S. government. After a complete internal investigation and subsequent presentation to the government, we persuaded the Dept. of Justice to decline to intervene and the realtor to voluntarily dismiss.
  • We successfully defended Roche Molecular Systems against claims of infringement of Stanford HIV patents related to viral load and therapy decisions. Stanford challenged Roche patent rights, asserting that Stanford, rather than one of its researchers, owned patent rights resulting from government-funded research. At the trial court, we obtained summary judgment of invalidity due to obviousness, and a favorable ruling on appeal to the Federal Circuit regarding standing to enforce the patents-in-suit. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit in a 7-2 decision, confirming a complete victory for the firm’s clients. Quinn Emanuel’s client, Roche, now owns a portion of the patent rights asserted against it by Stanford, allowing Roche to continue to make and sell its life-saving HIV kits free from Stanford’s claims. The Supreme Court upheld Roche’s position that universities must adhere to their contracts and not rely on the Bayh Dole Act to void their prior commitments.
  • We represented Mammoth Lakes Land Acquisition, LLC in a two-week jury trial resulting in a verdict finding breach of contract against the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Our client obtained a judgment of $30 million, along with an award of attorneys’ fees. This was the largest jury verdict in the history of Mono County, California and the 67th largest verdict in the nation in 2008. Defendant appealed, and the firm’s appellate attorneys successfully persuaded the California Court of Appeal to affirm the judgment in full.
  • We represented Hughes Aircraft in a breach of contract and tortious interference action against GEC, one of the largest industrial concerns in England. We tried the case before the London Court of International Arbitration which awarded our client $23 million in damages. The award was based on the tribunal's evaluation of the business opportunity Hughes lost when GEC cut Hughes out of a joint venture for proposing a radar system for the European Fighter Aircraft program.
  • We represented The Parsons Corporation in a "whistle-blower" qui tam lawsuit-- one in which the federal government did not intervene--in which issues of proper accounting under Cost Accounting Standards 410 and 418 are in play. The case was favorably settled.
  • We represented a major aerospace company in a federal lawsuit brought by a large European aerospace conglomerate involving a dispute over solar arrays used in satellites. We obtained summary judgment and a complete dismissal of the $133-million negligence, negligent misrepresentation and fraud claims.
  • We represented Dayton T. Brown in two separate protests, one at the Government Accountability Office and the other at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, successfully defending bid protests against award of testing facilities contracts to the company.
  • We represented The Parsons Corporation in a cost allowability dispute before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, which was successfully resolved upon undertaking extensive depositions of the government's contracting officials.
  • We represented Hughes Aircraft in federal litigation in Australia, leading to a $25 million settlement upon a published opinion by the Federal Court that Australia had breached its contract with the U.S. company and committed fraud. The court, for the first time in Australia, found that the contract included an implied obligation of good faith and fair dealing.
  • We have represented a number of major government contractors in evaluating instances of alleged mischarging and reporting findings to the federal government, with resulting administrative resolution of the issues.
  • We represented Raytheon in a case brought against it by an individual who claimed that he was entitled to millions of dollars in commissions on the sale of the Patriot missile system to Saudi Arabia. As a result of our extensive negotiations with the Saudi government, a Saudi minister submitted an answer to a written interrogatory disavowing the plaintiff's right to any recovery. We then obtained a voluntary dismissal during trial.
  • We represented a major government contractor with respect to alleged mischarging issues that were the subject of a grand jury investigation and resolved the matter administratively through contract modification.
  • We have counseled the California Institute of Technology over time concerning its contract with NASA for operation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • We represented Hughes Aircraft in obtaining a dismissal against both the United States government and the relator in a qui tam False Claims Act case alleging mischarging under government contracts.
  • We represented an international engineering firm against allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and over-billed the federal government by allegedly engaging in improper intercompany cost transfers. On the eve of trial, the case was settled for little more than nuisance value.
  • We represented an international engineering firm and its joint venture partners against allegations of accounting fraud and over billing by the government in connection with a long-term infrastructure construction project. We obtained dismissal of the fraud claim and are awaiting the result of a six-month bench trial.
  • We represented an international engineering firm in a dispute with the federal government over the manner in which environmental clean-up services were accounted for and charged. The engineering firm was accused of overbilling millions of dollars. The government agreed to settle the dispute without the engineering firm having to pay any allegedly over billed amount to the government.
  • We represented an international construction and engineering firm against federal qui tam action brought by former employee alleging various over billing and improper billing on government projects. Won on motion to dismiss.
  • We represented Litton Systems in a qui tam case, joined by the government, alleging misallocation of overhead costs for data processing services. Obtained a favorable settlement.
  • We represented Fluor Daniel Corp. in a qui tam claim by former employee overseeing cleanup of former Department of Energy nuclear fuel processing facility north of Cincinnati, challenging cost and schedule estimates for project. Obtained a favorable settlement.
  • We represented Jacobs Engineering Group in a qui tam action, joined by the government, alleging improper charging of rental costs after sale and leaseback of headquarters building. The case resulted in a favorable settlement.
  • We represented Shell Oil Company in state and federal actions alleging underpayment of royalties on government oil leases; the matters ultimately settled.
  • We represented Loral in its defense of a derivative lawsuit related to one of the first direct broadcast satellite permits.
  • We represented a number of satellite manufacturers in disputes with the federal government relating to acquisition and performance disputes, including prosecuting and defending disputes before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals and the U.S. Claims Court, and obtained favorable outcomes.
  • We represented Northrop Grumman against multiple employment and qui tam suits brought by former employee in a qui tam matter alleging flaws in circuitry for guidance system for MX Missile. The representation included a jury trial and appellate proceedings in the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court. All qui tam claims were dismissed and plaintiff received no monetary recovery after payment of sanctions award and attorneys’ fees.
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