Trump’s Proposed Infrastructure Plan: Is It Much More Than It Seems?

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President Trump released his long-awaited infrastructure plan last week, and like most things that come out of the White House, it was overshadowed by the partisan politics that dominate our government. The plan has been decried as a “farce,” a “scam,” and “underwhelming” by some. Most of the criticism focuses on what is perceived to be a modest amount of federal funding—$200 billion—committed by the White House as well as the significant reliance on state and local funding sources and private investment. However, an argument can be made that the plan is about much more than the [...]Read more

Jeff Belkin Quoted by Law360 on Leaked DOJ FCA Memo

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On January 25, 2018, Jeff Belkin was quoted by Law360 in the article “FCA Memo No Proof of New DOJ Direction on Dismissals,” which covers a recently leaked memo from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) detailing when DOJ attorneys should ask to dismiss “meritless” qui tam False Claims Act cases. The article covers varying viewpoints about what the impact of the memo will be on future FCA cases. Many FCA defense attorneys have reacted positively, some saying that the memo does suggest a change in policy. Others have reservations and remain unconvinced of actual policy changes. In the article, [...]Read more

Chris Roux and John Hanover Published in The Construction Lawyer on Implied False Certification Liability

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Alston & Bird partners Chris Roux and John Hanover had their article, “Implied False Certification Liability Under the False Claims Act: How the Materiality Standard Offers Protection after Escobar,” published in the Winter 2018 edition of The Construction Lawyer. The article takes an in-depth look at the viability of implied false certification claims under the False Claims Act by examining their use before and after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Escobar decision, the key elements of the decision, and how varying interpretations of the decision apply to the construction industry. Readers [...]Read more

Fifth Circuit Ruling Shows Government’s Actions Are Key Under Escobar

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Government contractors continue to closely follow the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark False Claims Act decision in Universal Health v. U.S. ex rel Escobar. Most recently, in U.S. ex rel Harman v. Trinity Industries, the Fifth Circuit considered the heightened standard whistleblowers must meet under Escobar to prove materiality if the government continued to pay claims despite its knowledge of misconduct allegations. In Trinity Industries, Trinity, a manufacturing company and government contractor, appealed the denial of its motion for judgment as a matter of law. The underlying [...]Read more

The Federal Government Procurement Process Could Go Digital

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In order to keep up with online marketplaces available at the “one touch” of a smartphone, the federal government is doing its part to bring its procurement process into the digital age. Legislation passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives would allow the U.S. military and civilian government agencies to buy products directly from new online marketplaces instead of following the current procurement process for purchases above the “micro-purchase” threshold (i.e., a few thousand dollars). The newly proposed process would present many opportunities for online retailers and [...]Read more

Chris Roux Quoted in Law360 on Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

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On August 18, Alston & Bird Construction & Government Contracts partner Chris Roux was quoted in the Law360 article “Trump Infrastructure Order Shows Strategy Without Clear Plan.” The article discusses the potential impact of President Donald Trump’s August 15 Executive Order that was intended to push the government to complete environmental reviews to approve or deny major infrastructure projects within a two-year time frame, on average. The Executive Order also repeals an order signed by President Barack Obama in 2015 that required federal agencies and developers to factor in climate [...]Read more

Government Contractors May See Changes in Cybersecurity and IT Procurement

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On Monday, June 19, 2017, President Trump’s newly established American Technology Council met for the first time at the White House to begin discussions on modernizing government information technology (IT) systems. As President Trump reportedly stated during the meeting, “Our goal is to lead a sweeping transformation of the federal government’s technology that will deliver dramatically better services for citizens.… Government needs to catch up with the technology revolution.” Executives from companies such as Amazon, Apple, Intel, Adobe, Akamai, and Microsoft were in attendance. When [...]Read more

DOJ Continues to Crack Down on SBA Fraud

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On April 25, 2017, the DOJ announced that Michelle Cho, an officer of Far East Construction Corporation and other companies, received both prison time and civil penalties for her involvement as the mastermind of a fraudulent scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) program. Under this scheme, Cho would bid for set-aside contracts for small, disadvantaged businesses under the SBA 8(a) program. However, Cho’s companies would not perform this work. Instead, other large companies would perform this work and pay 3 percent of the proceeds to Cho’s companies. This is another [...]Read more

Breana Ware Quoted in The Christian Science Monitor

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On May 17, Alston & Bird Construction & Government Contracts associate Breana Ware was quoted in The Christian Science Monitor article “For Builders, Trump’s Wall Beckons but Is Fraught with Political Risk.” The article discusses how political pressure from state legislatures and activists has been focused directly on some of the largest and best-known design, engineering, and construction firms that are qualified to complete President Trump’s proposed border wall. Such pressure, in the form of protests and proposed and passed state antiwall legislation targeting participating companies, [...]Read more

Alston & Bird Partners Secure Dismissal from Delaware Qui Tam Suit

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On Friday, April 21, Alston & Bird obtained the dismissal of claims against two publicly traded retail companies, Ralph Lauren and Ruth’s Hospitality, from a qui tam lawsuit the State of Delware had intervened in. The retailers, along with nearly a dozen others, were named in State of Delaware v. Card Compliant, et al., pending in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. The state was alleging violations of the Delaware False Claims and Reporting Act resulting from alleged noncompliance with Delaware’s Escheats Law involving unused gift card balances. In Friday’s ruling, Superior [...]Read more