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Oles Morrison

The Rise of the Corporate Death Penalty: Understanding Suspensions and Debarments

Sat Aug 3, 2013

Over the past decade, the number of convicted criminals sentenced each year to the death penalty has rapidly declined.1 Yet, while fewer criminals are being sentenced to capital punishment, the number of federal government contractors sentenced to what is commonly known as the “corporate death penalty” has skyrocketed. According to a September 2012 report issued by the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC), federal agencies 2 took 5,838 suspension or debarment actions in fiscal year 2011,3 up from 2,668 in fiscal year 2009.4 Since there is no indication that contractors are behaving any worse than they were a few years ago, it raises the question: What is causing this dramatic rise in the number of suspensions and debarments? The dramatic uptick in suspensions and debarments should not only be a concern to bad contractors, but also to good contractors. Under the new rules and regime, it appears that the days of free passes and second chances may be going away.

Observing that suspensions and debarments are on the rise, Oles Morrison attorney, Adam Lasky, delves into the data to explain the most likely reasons for this occurrence and to provide guidance on what contractors can do to reduce their odds of being suspended or debarred.  His informative article, published in Insight From Hindsight, the quarterly e-journal of the Navigant Construction Forum,™ which focuses on construction- and dispute-related issues in the global construction community, can be read in full here.