CDA Trumps Postal Act's Grant of District Court Jurisdiction

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a contract claim for lack of jurisdiction because the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 bars breach and “essentially contractual” claims against the United States Postal Service in district courts. The contractor –a real estate developer –sought damages under theories of breach […]

EC's Money Laundering Suit Against Tobacco Companies Fails

by Mark Engstrom, Legal Editor, RICO BUSINESS DISPUTES GUIDE The European Community and 26 European countries could not pursue RICO claims against several tobacco companies (R.J. Reynolds and various corporate affiliates) that allegedly engaged in an elaborate money laundering scheme involving the sale of illegal drugs by criminal organizations and the sale of cigarettes by […]

Board's Denial of Equitable Estoppel Reversed

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed an Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals decision holding the contractor was not estopped from rejecting improperly issued delivery orders, because the government satisfied the elements of the correct test for equitable estoppel. The government appealed the board’s ruling the contractor was entitled to an equitable […]

Wildflower Garden Lacked "Authorship" and "Fixation"

by Janette Spencer-Davis, Legal Editor, CCH Copyright Law Reports An artist’s live wildflower garden display in a public city park did not qualify for moral-rights protection under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled. Accordingly, judgment in favor of a park district on the artist’s claim that the […]

"Betty Boop" Is Aesthetically Functional, Not Protectable

by Thomas Long, Legal Editor, CCH Trademark Law Guide A company that managed the intellectual property rights to characters developed by deceased animators Max and Dave Fleischer (“Fleischer Studios”) could not pursue a trademark infringement action against an agency that licensed merchandise featuring the character “Betty Boop,” in which Fleischer Studios claimed to hold trademark […]

Monopoly Claims Against DuPont Revived

by Jeffrey May, CCH Trade Regulation Reports Claims that E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company attempted to wield, and did wield, monopoly power over the U.S. para-aramid fiber market in violation of Sec. 2 of the Sherman Act should not have been dismissed, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, has decided. Kolon […]

Government Entitled to Equitable Segment Closing Adjustment

The government was summarily entitled to an equitable adjustment in a segment closing adjustment dispute, according to the Court of Federal Claims, because application of the revised Cost Accounting Standard 413 may result in the government owing more for pension costs subject to the original CAS 413. The court in Viacom, Inc. v. U.S. (49 […]

Arbitration Ban for Whistleblower Cases Applies Retroactively

A federal district court held that the Dodd-Frank Act ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements for whistleblower claims under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act applied to alleged misconduct that occurred before enactment of the Wall Street reform legislation. U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock decided that the court (DC Mass), rather than a FINRA arbitration […]

Compliance Specialist's Retaliation Claim Summarily Denied

A False Claims Act retaliation claim was summarily denied by the District Court for the Western District of Washington because there was insufficient evidence suggesting the plaintiff engaged in activity protected under the FCA or the contractor knew the plaintiff engaged in protected activity. The plaintiff, a former ethics and compliance specialist for a defense […]

No Contract Ambiguity to Excuse Default

A contractor’s contention its default was excused by a patent ambiguity was rejected by the Court of Federal Claims because the contract requirements were not ambiguous and the government had a reasonable basis for believing the contractor could achieve the requirements. The government terminated the fixed-price contract to design and produce helicopter armor on grounds […]