Technical Excellence in Government Contracts
and Construction Matters Since 1893.
Oles Morrison

Pursuing, securing and maintaining a government contract requires navigating a host of complex legal issues. Widely regarded as one of the premier government contracts practice groups on the West Coast, the Oles Morrison Government Contracts team is known for its ability to advise clients at all stages in the government contracting process while keeping business objectives in focus and controlling costs.

We work with government contractors large and small across a wide variety of industries, including: construction, base operations, maintenance, defense, maritime, engineering, health care, aerospace, information technology, energy and communications. Our team of experienced and nationally recognized government contracts attorneys work collaboratively, combining their diverse legal experiences to provide wrap-around services to our clients. We have the knowledge to guide clients of all sizes seamlessly through every step of the government contracting process at the federal, state and local levels.

Bid Protests

At Oles Morrison, one of our primary goals is to help our clients win government contracts. Sometimes this involves representing our clients in bid protests. Our team has a proven record of success winning bid protests and defending contracts awarded to our clients. We regularly represent contractors in pre- and post-award protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC), the FAA Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA), state courts, and before procurement agencies. We handle bid protests of all sizes and complexity, across multiple industries. Before we file a protest, we make sure our clients are educated and informed on the protest process, and fully apprised of the potential costs, benefits and risks of a protest. Oles Morrison’s record of published protest decisions speaks for itself.

Claims and Disputes

Oles Morrison takes great care in providing legal counseling and litigation services relating to government contract claims and disputes. Clients turn to us for assistance in preparing requests for equitable adjustment and certified claims. We work to identify every possible solution to keep our clients out of the courthouse, but when litigation is necessary our team has the experience and resources to aggressively represent our clients against the federal government at the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. We also represent clients involved in subcontracting claims and disputes on government contracts in both federal and state courts.

Construction Contracting

From bid to ground-breaking to completion, and if necessary, to the courthouse, we assist our clients on all phases of public construction projects. Our team – which includes multiple American College of Construction Lawyers fellows, authors of numerous articles and books on federal government construction contracting, and a past-chair of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, to name a few – has advised on and litigated some of the largest public construction projects in the country. We utilize our deep bench of nationally recognized construction lawyers and government contracts attorneys to represent prime contractors, subcontracts, suppliers and design professionals in all kinds of public construction projects. Our team not only understands the statutes and regulations that apply to public construction projects, we also understand how construction companies operate and how construction projects are executed. Our unique skill set allows us to offer clients efficient and effective counseling and representation across federal, state and local public construction projects.

Small Business and Socio-Economic Programs

Our team understands the unique opportunities and challenges small businesses face in the federal government contracting marketplace. We have extensive knowledge of the ever-changing legal issues that arise in procurements set-aside for small businesses, mentor-protégé agreements, and compliance with small business subcontracting requirements. Oles Morrison offers robust legal counseling to clients participating, or looking to participate, in a variety of small business or socio-economic based programs, such as: 8(a) Business Development, Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB), Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), HUBZone, Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), and AbilityOne. We also pay particularly close attention to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) ever changing regulatory landscape, and work with both large and small businesses seeking to maximize teaming and joint-venturing opportunities through SBA’s 8(a) and All Small Mentor-Protégé programs, while at the same time not running afoul of SBA’s affiliation rules. Our practice also includes representing clients in size protest and appeals before SBA Area Offices and the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.

Suspension and Debarment

The biggest hammer the federal government has at its disposal is the ability to suspend or debar a contractor. Over the last decade, the number of suspension and debarment actions has skyrocketed. Commonly known as the “corporate death penalty,” the impact of a suspension or debarment on a contractor’s business, livelihood and reputation can be devastating. We recognize the severity of this sanction, and mobilize quickly on behalf of our clients and put the necessary actions in motion to keep our clients in business. This includes recommending and assisting clients with internal investigations and disclosures to avoid suspension and debarment actions all together, helping our clients demonstrate present responsibility and/or contesting facts that underlie the government’s basis for suspension or debarment, and negotiating administrative agreements. We also counsel our clients on how to avoid cross-debarment actions. Our attorneys have a history of helping clients avoid suspension and debarment even in the bleakest of situations.

False Claims Act and Civil Investigations

Increasing government regulation and enforcement means that government contractors are under intense scrutiny for fraud and other misconduct. Along with this scrutiny comes the risk of False Claims Act (FCA) proceedings being brought by the federal government or qui-tamrelators. Oles Morrison has the experience to navigate clients through complicated and sensitive investigations of misconduct and fraud. Our team approaches each matter to determine potential compliance risks and provide proactive forward-thinking solutions. We regularly advise clients on issues involving mandatory disclosures, export control violations, civil fraud, and subpoenas issued by government entities. We work with clients to avoid FCA litigation, but when it is unavoidable we vigorously defend our clients in federal court against such claims.

Contract Administration and Regulatory Compliance

The best way for a government contractor to avoid litigation is pro-active and knowledgeable advice on contract administration and regulatory compliance. We provide turnkey, responsive, properly scaled contract compliance and administration support to help clients avoid the consequences that may result from unfamiliarity with contract requirements and compliance issues. Our team has vast experience advising government contractors on all aspects of contract administration and regulatory compliance. In fact, one of our attorneys even co-authored what is widely recognized as the preeminent textbook on administering federal government contracts.

Teaming, Joint Ventures, and Subcontracting

Contractors pursuing a government contract frequently find it beneficial, or necessary, to embark on teaming agreements, joint ventures, or other strategic alliances. Our team is skilled at evaluating the best choice for your organization, whether it be a prime-sub teaming agreement, an unpopulated or populate joint-venture, a mentor-protégé joint venture, or a multi-small joint venture. We then prepare the necessary agreements to maximize the potential for our client’s team to succeed, while at the same time limiting potential risks to our client from the arrangement. We also assist contractors with drafting and negotiating subcontract agreements, as well as development and compliance with small business subcontracting plans.

Maritime

We help our clients in the maritime industry on the unique challenges they face contracting with federal, state, and local governments. This includes advising on bid protests, intellectual property and data rights, contract administration, claims and litigation. With deep experience in the industry, we regularly handle matters dealing with the U.S. Maritime Administration, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy.

State and Local Procurement

In addition to our team’s work on federal government contracts matters, our team has significant experience counseling and litigating a wide-spectrum of state and local procurement matters. Our team includes attorneys with significant experience on state and local government contracts matters up and down the West Coast.

Attorneys

Representative Matters

Bid Protests

Successfully protested U.S. Navy Military Sealift Command’s award of a $32 million O/M contract for the SBX-1 – the floating, self-propelled, mobile radar system used by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to detect and track incoming ICBMs fired at the United States. GAO sustained our protest, finding that agency had made numerous errors in the evaluation of the awardee’s past performance, and awarded our client its attorneys’ fees. TOTE Services, Inc., B-414295, B-414295.2, 2017 WL 2417191 (Comp. Gen. April 25, 2017). 

Successfully defended against a bid protest challenging the award of laundry services contract to our client by the Army. GAO granted our motion to dismiss the protest based the protestor’s failure to comply with GAO filing deadlines.

Successfully represented a medical services contractor protesting the award of a contract for operation and maintenance services at U.S. Army medical facilities located in a foreign country to another contractor. The Army took corrective action in response to our GAO protest, canceled the protested contract award, and eventually awarded the contract to our client.

Successfully represented a specialty manufacturer challenging the award of contract for a Navy landing craft. As a result of the protest we filed at GAO, the Navy took corrective action requested, resulting in award of a contract to our client.

Successfully protested the Army’s failure to award our client an IDIQ contract to our client in a MATOC procurement for a design-build medical facility construction valued at $585 million. After the U.S. Court of Federal Claims issued a preliminary injunction, the Army took corrective action and awarded an IDIQ contract to our client.

Successful pre-award protest challenging experience requirements as unduly restrictive of competition in the RFP for the Guantanamo Bay BOS contract. The Navy took corrective action in response to our protest by eliminating the protested restriction.

Successfully represented a materials testing and engineering contractor challenging FHWA’s improper sole source award of a laboratory support services task order to another contractor. After we filed a GAO protest and obtained a CICA stay of performance of the protested contract, the government announced it was going to override the CICA stay. We went to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and successfully obtained a temporary restraining order prohibiting the government from overriding the CICA stay during pendency of a GAO protest. As a result, the government took corrective action, canceled the task order award we had protested, and awarded the client a task order for the work.

Successfully protested the Navy’s elimination of our client from the competitive range in a procurement for base operations services valued at nearly $350 million. GAO sustained our bid protest and awarded our client its attorneys’ fees. West Sound Services Group, LLC, B-406583.2, B-406583.3, 2013 CPD ¶ 276, 2013 WL 6247506 (Comp. Gen. July 3, 2013)

Successfully protested the GSA’s award of a contract for a multi-site custodial and maintenance services contract in Texas, which was set-aside for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. GAO sustained the bid protest and awarded our client their attorneys’ fees. Quality Services International, LLC, B-410156, et al., 2014 CPD ¶ 330, 2014 WL 6657714 (Comp. Gen. Nov. 3, 2014)

Successfully defended against a bid protest at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims challenging the USDA’s award of an IT help desk services contract to our client under the AbilityOne Program. Nat’l Telecommuting Inst., Inc. v. United States, 123 Fed. Cl. 595, 599 (2015)

After we protested the Navy’s award of a nearly $70 million contract for janitorial and custodial services at Walter Reed Medical Center to the incumbent contractor, the Navy took corrective action, revaluated proposals and awarded our client the contract. We then successfully defended that award against a bid protest by the incumbent contractor at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. NVE, Inc. v. U.S., 121 Fed. Cl. 169 (2015)

Successfully protested the Army’s award of an approx. $90 million small business set-aside contract for logistical support services in Hawaii. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims found there were ample grounds to sustain our client’s bid protest. Dellew v. U.S., 127 Fed. Cl. 85 (2016)

Successfully protested FHWA’s award of $18 million laboratory support services contract on basis that awardee’s proposed key personnel fail to meet the RFP’s minimum qualification requirements. GAO sustained our protest and awarded our client its attorneys’ fees. Professional Service Industries, Inc., B-412721.2 et al., 2016 CPD ¶ 234, 2016 WL 4582238 (Comp. Gen. July 21, 2016)

Successful pre-award bid protest challenging FHWA decision to re-solicit and re-evaluate proposals based on revised criteria set forth in an amendment to the solicitation. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims held FHWA’s actions to be arbitrary and capricious and issued a permanent injunction in favor of our client. Professional Service Industries, Inc. v. U.S., 129 Fed. Cl. 190 (2016)

State and Local Procurement

Successfully represented a construction contractor protesting the elimination of its bid, and award of a contract to another contractor, to build a waste treatment facility for failing to comply with the Washington State subcontractor listing statue. After we filed a bid protest challenging the government’s decision to eliminate our client’s bid, the government took corrective action by canceling the award and agreeing to re-bid the project.

Represented a construction contractor challenging a local agency’s elimination of our client’s proposal as non-responsible in a procurement for a port facility. After we obtained a temporary restraining order, the agency offered to award our client a portion of the contract and pay a portion of client’s attorneys’ fees.

Successfully represented a developer protesting the award of a long-term development and property management contract for one of the most sought after public land developments in Seattle. As a result of our protest, the awardee and our client negotiated a contract to co-develop the project.

Effectively applied the concept of partnering in achieving claims free performance for the constructor of a new floating bridge following the sinking of a predecessor bridge and major litigation brought by State.

Represented JV prime contractor in claims against the project owner on a seawall replacement project valued at over $400 million.

Successfully represented a contractor protesting the City of New Orleans’s failure to award the client a spot in the City’s engineering and material services contract pool for construction projects. As a result of our protest, the City canceled all the awards under the RFQ and announced it would conduct a brand-new procurement.

Represented client in a California bid protest involving a >$400 million wastewater treatment facility.

Handled the bid protest for the manufacturer and supplier of engines and control systems on a contract for the construction of ferries for the Washington State Department of Transportation including pursuing the protest through a multi-day court hearing after which court ruled in favor of the client on its protest resulting in a rejection of the award to another supplier.

Successfully represented a telecommunications contractor protesting the elimination of its proposal from a competition for a NASPO multiple-award contract to supply communications equipment to state and local agencies across the country. As a result of our public records requests, bid protests and letters to the Washington state attorney general, the lead procuring agency took corrective action and conducted a brand-new procurement, ultimately resulting in award of a contract to our client.

Small Business and Socio-Economic Programs

Regularly advise small business contractors on avoiding affiliation issues.

Drafted a joint venture agreement between three small businesses to compete together for a SDVOSB set-aside.

Drafted and helped negotiate numerous SBA mentor-protégé joint venture agreements.

Successfully defended a construction contractor against a size protest challenging the award of U.S. Department of State small business set-aside contract based on allegations that our client was an ineligible foreign corporation and large due to affiliation. SBA denied the size protest on all grounds, affirming the contract award to our client.

Successful size appeal challenging SBA Area Office’s determination that protested concern was small under the applicable size standard for electrical substation work at an Army facility. SBA OHA granted our appeal reversed the Area Office’s size determination, finding that the Area Office relying on a firm’s self-serving post-offer statements contradicting clear evidence in the resumes submitted in its offer of excessive reliance on a firm that the SBA OHA found should have been considered its affiliate under the ostensible subcontractor rule. Size Appeal of KVA Elec., Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5045 (2009)

Successful NAICS code appeal challenging the NAICS code assigned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to a small business set-aside procurement to replace substation breakers at Fort Lewis. SBA Office of Hearings and Administrative Appeals (“OHA”) granted our appeal, ruling that the contracting officer committed clear error in selecting the NAICS code designation for the procurement. NAICS Appeal of KVA Elec., Inc., SBA No. NAICS-5050 (2009)

Successful size appeal, challenging an SBA  Area Office’s size determination. On appeal, SBA OHA reversed the Area Office’s size determination because the Area Office erroneously determined that our client, an 8(a) mentor-protégé joint venture, was affiliated with its protégé company. Size Appeal of CJW Construction, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5254 (2011)

Defended our client against claims of affiliation in a size protest and size appeal concerning the award of a Navy janitorial contract set-aside for small business. The SBA ruled in our favor and confirmed our client was eligible for the contract award. Size Appeal of NVE, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5638 (2015)

Construction Contracting

On a major pier construction for the Navy in California, represented large regional heavy civil contractor on claims involved differing site conditions, design deficiencies, and major changes during the course of the work, greatly extending time and cost. Agreed with government to utilize modified alternative dispute resolution procedures to favorably resolve dispute in mediation.

Worked closely with national heavy civil contractor on dam rehabilitation contract with Corps of Engineers to resolve a claim involving differing site condition which made portions of the work impossible and greatly increased cost of work. Resolved through dispute process with the public agency on favorable terms to contractor and allowed for completion of the project through administrative process.

Represented large regional heavy civil contractor on new pier construction at major U.S. Navy facility including differing site conditions, design defects, and superior knowledge claims, as well as claims by subcontractors. Favorably resolved dispute with government by use of alternative dispute resolution procedures. Favorably resolved dispute with subcontractor after litigation filed using federal judge as mediator.

Represented national heavy civil contractor on floating bridge rehabilitation contract where bridge failed during work. Worked closely with client to resolve claims with public agency and successfully mediated resolution in multi-day, multi-party mediation, including contractors, public agency, bonding company and insurance companies resulting in no loss for contractor.

Secured large settlement for contractor of a major port expansion first against the federal government and later on claims by public owner against the project’s design and construction firms.

Provided representation to an electrical subcontractor on a new school project regarding disputes during the course of construction and helped prepare and present a substantial claim for delay disruption and the contract balance. The claim was pursued through a five-week jury trial after which the client was awarded a judgment for all amounts sought including costs and fees.

Lead counsel for general contractor building four major transit stations underground in downtown Seattle. Handled major claims against municipality owner and more than 30 subcontractor claims. Successfully resolved all major issues with minimal litigation.

Represented large JV on $150 million plus design-build project for a new section of highway including several bridges, for a state DOT. Involved throughout project with major differing site conditions claims leading to substantial change orders and ultimately an agreed termination. Pursued arbitration against design engineers thereafter for significant recovery.

Represented JV prime contractor in a >$100 million arbitration relating to a light rail project against the project owner and involving multiple subcontractors.

Obtained large award from a contract appeal board following a hearing of wrongful termination claim on a highway contract.

Achieved multi-million dollar settlement of contractor claims against the State of Hawaii involving changed conditions incurred in construction of a large sewage treatment plant.

Successfully represented a national construction and engineering firm in a multimillion dollar claim against the United States Air Force on a nationwide construction matter that was settled on the eve of trial on terms very favorable to the client.

Claims and Disputes

Represented housekeeping contractor in bid mistake claim against the Air Force at the ASBCA, resulting in a favorable settlement for our client.

Represented a construction contractor against the Navy in an ASBCA appeal involving claims arising from the refurbishment of a foreign government’s military installation.

Secured multi-million dollar decision from ASBCA granting full recovery for significant quantity underruns on a dredging project.

Represented base operations contractor in an ASBCA appeal against the U.S. Navy involving the scope of the services contract.

Represented SDVOSB in lengthy contract suspension disputes and successfully negotiated a termination for convenience settlement with the VA.

Obtained full recovery based on decision of the Engineering BCA for inherent failure of a government-designated rock quarry to produce specified armor stone for new dikes/revetments on a harbor project.

Represented a construction contractor in an ASBCA appeal involving claims valued at over $25 million for defective specifications, differing site conditions and cardinal change on a design-build construction contract for large residential facilities at an Air Force base.

Successfully defended a major Energy Department contractor against a lawsuit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in Idaho Federal Court.

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