Author Archives: Jessica Sharron

Jessica Sharron
Jessica Sharron is a senior associate in the firm’s Construction and Government Contracts Groups. Jessica's practice focuses primarily in the specialized fields of government contracts and construction litigation.  Read More

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

Written by and
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

Government Contractors May See Changes in Cybersecurity and IT Procurement

Written by and
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

GAO Report on Government Contracting Finds Overall Decrease from 2011-2015 and Most Obligations on Service Contracts

Written by and
Every year, billions of dollars in products and services are needed to keep running the U.S. federal government’s 18 cabinet-level departments and nearly 100 other independent agencies. In March 2017, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released results of its one-year audit of the government’s contracts between fiscal years 2011 and 2015 (including its fixed price, cost-reimbursement, and time-and-materials/labor hour contracts). Overall, GAO’s report shows a 24 percent decrease in government-wide contracting in FY 2015 from FY 2011 levels (a drop of approximately $438 billion), with [...]Read more

The Supreme Court Weighs In on the Implied Certification Theory of False Claims Act Liability

Written by and
The Supreme Court has handed the Department of Justice and qui tam relators a bigger hammer to wield against government contractors with its opinion in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, confirming the viability of the implied certification theory of False Claims Act (FCA) liability. In this case, the relators filed a qui tam action alleging that a provider of mental-health services in Massachusetts violated the FCA when it submitted Medicaid reimbursement claims that included representations about the services provided, but failed to disclose that the service [...]Read more

Andy Howard and Jessica Sharron on “The False Claims Act: Recent Trends and Hot Topics” – A Webinar

Written by and
On January 27, 2016, Alston & Bird’s Andy Howard and Jessica Sharron presented a live webinar titled “The False Claims Act: Recent Trends and Hot Topics” in connection with Lorman Education Services. In this 90-minute session, the attorneys covered recent developments in False Claims Act (FCA) law; the state of attorney-client privilege in FCA whistleblower (“qui tam”) lawsuits; the growing use of civil investigative demands (CIDs) and how to survive CID audits and investigations, workforce training, and FCA claim mitigation techniques; and the disagreement in various federal appeals [...]Read more

Women-Owned Small Businesses and Sole Source Contracts

Written by and
President Obama’s administration has made it a priority to meet the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) prime and subcontracting goals, which include metrics relating to the percentage of government contracts awarded to small businesses, women-owned small businesses (WOSB), small disadvantaged businesses, service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and historically underutilized business zones. Although in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 government agencies met or exceeded their prime contracting goals for small businesses in general, they did not achieve their goals for WOSBs. One way to [...]Read more