Robert Huffman Quoted in Law360 on Top Government Contract Cases of 2016
For its article “The Top Gov’t Contracts Cases Of 2016: Midyear Report,” Law360 quoted Akin Gump partner Robert Huffman who weighed in on some of the biggest government contract cases during the first half of the year.
Topping Law360’s list was Universal Health Services In. v. U.S. et al. ex rel. Escobar et al., in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that “implied certification” can support False Claims Act claims. Speaking about the decision, Huffman said, “Far and away, there is nothing that comes close [in importance]. There is really nothing that comes close in the last 10 years.” The implied certification theory, Law360 reports, comes into play when a contractor makes a claim for payment and implies certification that it is in compliance with all relevant regulations, laws and contractual clauses, even if they aren’t explicit conditions of payment.
Another case on Law360’s list was Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. v. Murphy, in which the Federal Circuit ruled that in some circumstances, the clock on a prime contractor’s claim against the government only begins when a claim for costs from a subcontractor is actually made to that prime contractor and it is thus able to claim a “sum certain”—not when a subcontract ends.
The decision, Huffman said, offers an important precedent for contractors, even though it has yet to be applied more broadly. “It makes clear, at least when it comes to contractors, the statute does not begin to accrue … until they can make a claim for a ‘sum certain,’” he said. “It’s not just when they figure they might have some basis for a claim. And if you look at the facts there carefully, it is really an important case for contractors.” Akin Gump partners Thomas McLish and Scott Heimberg represented Kellogg Brown & Root in the matter.