News & Events

RJO Welcomes Two New Attorneys

Rogers Joseph O’Donnell is pleased to announce that Alecia E. Cotton and Nicholas T. Niiro have joined the firm as associates.

Alecia joins our Retail Industry Trade Regulation Group and our Environmental Law Group. Alecia is a 2007 graduate of Loyola University College of Law, New Orleans. Immediately prior to joining RJO, Alecia was a senior litigation associate at McKenna Long and Aldridge where she gained extensive litigation and trial experience representing the business community in complex commercial civil litigation and consumer products litigation. Alecia also regularly counsels large and small companies on issues involving regulatory compliance, business practices and environmental matters.

Nick joins our Environmental Law Group and our Retail Industry Trade Regulation Group. Nick is a 2011 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from UCLA. Prior to joining RJO, Nick was an associate at a boutique environmental law firm, where he represented clients in administrative proceedings involving hydropower and water rights before the California State Water Resources Control Board, California Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has also worked as a jury consultant, specializing in advising clients on environmental and toxic tort litigation.

We are delighted to add their talents to the RJO team.


RJO Helps Construction Client Overcome Challenge to BART Award

RJO client Manson Construction, a marine construction company, was the low bidder on the BART Marine Barrier Project at Ferry Plaza. BART’s Office of Civil Rights challenged Manson’s good faith efforts to obtain disadvantaged business participation in the project and recommended that Manson’s bid be rejected.

Alan Wilhelmy worked with Manson’s DBE outreach team, prepared a hearing brief, prepared witnesses for the hearing and attended a half-day hearing before the BART hearing officer.

The hearing officer concluded that Manson did in fact undertake the necessary good faith efforts to obtain DBE participation. Based upon the decision, BART awarded the $50 million contract to Manson.


RJO Attorneys Named to Law360 Editorial Boards

Bob Metzger and associate Jeff Chiow were both selected to serve as editorial advisors by Law360, a legal new service operated by LexisNexis. “The purpose of the editorial advisory board is to get feedback on Law360’s coverage and to gain insight from experts in the field on how best to shape future coverage.” Bob Metzger, who heads RJO’s Washington, DC office was selected to advise on Law360’s Aerospace & Defense coverage. Jeff Chiow will cover Government Contracts content.


RJO’s Year-in-Review Analysis of GSA Schedule
Contracting Issues

In case you missed it, the February 27, 2015 Friday Flash newsletter by The Coalition for Government Procurement featured an article co-authored by shareholder Robert Metzger and associate Oliya Zamaray. In their article, "GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contracting: Lessons From 2014," the authors focused on GSA enforcement results from 2014, identified trends, and offered advice to companies on how to conduct self-assessments that will reduce your risk of non-compliance. The article had been previously published in Law360, where Mr. Metzger and Ms. Zamaray offer their year in review analysis of GSA’s schedule program.


Northern District of California Judges Thank RJO for Pro Bono Work

On February 17, 2015, RJO was among the law firms and lawyers recognized by the judges of the federal district court for the Northern District of California for their participation in the court’s Federal Pro Bono Project. RJO shareholder Aaron Silberman has participated in the program since 2004. Last year, he and Lauren Kramer volunteered to serve as pro bono special mediation counsel for two in pro per plaintiffs in a predatory lending case.


RJO Attorneys Certified As Specialists

Shareholders Merri Baldwin and John Heller have been certified as Specialists in Legal Malpractice Law by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Baldwin and Heller co-chair the firm’s Attorney Liability and Conduct practice group, handling matters involving legal malpractice, State bar discipline, motions to disqualify, sanctions, and ethics advice.


Aaron Silberman Quoted on Important New Fourth Circuit Decision on Federal False Claims Act

RJO government contracts attorney Aaron Silberman, was quoted in the Federal Contracts Report (FCR) for February 10, 2015 (103 FCR 133), reporting on a significant federal False Claims Act (FCA) decision in an article titled “Fourth Circuit: Information Must Reach Public Domain to Trigger Disclosure Bar." In the article, Mr. Silberman comments on the significance of United States ex rel. Wilson v. Graham Cnty. Soil & Water Conservation Dist. (2015 BL 26339, 4th Cir., No. 13-2345, 2/3/15) on the FCA’s public disclosure bar in 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A). The Wilson decision continues an unfortunate trend among some federal courts unduly restricting the public disclosure defense to qui tam lawsuits and thereby expanding the FCA liability of federal government contractors. The court considered two disclosures – 1) an audit report created by an independent accounting firm, distributed to federal, state and local authorities, and publicly available for inspection, and 2) a federal agency report created by the USDA, distributed to federal and state authorities, and also publicly available. The court found no fault with the district court's factual findings that the disclosures contained facts underling the relator's fraud claims and were relied upon by the relator and that the relator was not an original source. It nevertheless reversed the trial court's dismissal of the relator's claims, basing its reversal on a mechanical reading the terms "public" and "disclosure" without regard to the clear purpose of the defense – to prevent parasitic whistleblower suits based on information available to the government and the public. Allowing parasitic lawsuits like this one stretches the language of the FCA, does not serve its intent, and does nothing to assist the Government in detecting and fighting fraud. (Article)


Robert Metzger Quoted on President Obama's Visit to India

Bob Metzger, an RJO shareholder who heads the firm’s D.C. office, is among experts quoted in an article in India’s Open magazine that examines the implications and prospects of President Obama's historic visit to India. (Article)


Victory in $2.5B Multi-Award Navy Bid Protest

RJO attorneys scored a significant victory on behalf of their client challenging the outcome of the procurement for a $2.5B multiple-award Navy contract. The U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Center (SPAWAR) had issued awards to five companies to produce build-to-print network systems to be installed on Navy ships under the Consolidated Afloat Networks & Enterprise Services (CANES) program. RJO attorneys Neil O'Donnell, Jeff Chiow, Lauren Kramer and Lucas Hanback established that the Navy’s CANES procurement was flawed. They argued, among other things, that the Navy had changed its mind about the number of units it was likely to buy, but then never revised its pricing analysis to account for the changed approach. GAO agreed. Because the Navy’s procurement intentions had changed, GAO recommended that the Agency revise its solicitation accordingly and accept revised pricing. Another disappointed offeror also protested the procurement but its protest was denied. The decision is available at


Merri A. Baldwin Will Serve as Treasurer for the Bar Association of San Francisco for 2015

Merri A. Baldwin will serve as the treasurer for the Bar Association of San Francisco for 2015.  BASF is nationally-recognized for its extensive pro bono work and efforts to promote diversity in the profession.


Aaron Silberman Quoted on Ninth Circuit Decision re Public Disclosure Defense Under Federal False Claims Act

RJO government contracts attorney Aaron P. Silberman was quoted extensively in the Federal Contracts Report (FCR) for November 4, 2014 (102 FCR 533), reporting on a significant federal False Claims Act (FCA) decision in an article titled “Ninth Circuit Affirms Deposition Constituted Public Disclosure Under FCA" (PDF). In the article, Mr. Silberman comments on the significance of Malhotra v. Steinberg (2014 BL 305219, 9th Cir., No. 13-35165, 10/29/14) on the FCA’s public disclosure bar in 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A). The decision evaluates when a disclosure is “public.” The Ninth Circuit previously held in Seal 1 v. Seal A, 255 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2001), that a disclosure is “public” as to a particular individual, and so will bar that individual from suing as a relator, if (a) the disclosure was made to that individual in a qualifying government proceeding and (b) that individual was an “outsider” to that proceeding. In such circumstances, the disclosure need not be made to the public at large. The Malhotras case is important because it applies the ruling in Seal 1 to relators who were significantly involved in the proceeding in which the disclosure was made. In other words, it interprets the term "outsider" extremely broadly. While the facts of Malhotras are unusual, the decision makes clear that, at least in the Ninth Circuit, a disclosure in virtually any government investigation to any individual other than a government employee is likely to qualify as a "public" disclosure under the FCA and bar a qui tam action if the other elements of the public disclosure bar are met and the relator is not an original source. (Article)


RJO Attorneys Contribute to New ABA Guide on State False Claims Acts

RJO attorneys authored three chapters in State False Claims Acts: A Practitioner’s Guide to the False Claims Acts of the Various States, a book just released by the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Public Contract Law. Aaron P. Silberman and Dennis J. Callahan co-authored the chapters on the federal, California and Nevada False Claims Acts. The Guide provides a reference tool for comparing violations, defenses and procedures among these complicated statutes for combatting fraud against federal, state and local governments. For further information, visit the ABA Webstore.


John Heller Reaches Significant Settlement in First Amendment Claim

RJO shareholder John Heller has settled for $1.925 million a civil rights lawsuit brought on behalf of Barry Hazle, an atheist who was imprisoned for objecting to religious drug treatment imposed as a condition of parole. The action was brought under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and culminated in a Ninth Circuit opinion, Hazle v. Crofoot, 727 F. 3d 983 (2013). Associates Suhani Kamdar and Katherine Pohl assisted in the representation.


Merri Baldwin Appointed Vice-Chair of California State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Liability and Conduct for 2014-15

RJO shareholder Merri A. Baldwin has been appointed as the Vice-Chair of the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct. She will serve in that role for the 2014-2015 term, and will serve as chair for the following term.


Aaron Silberman Elected as Officer, Oliya Zamaray and Robert Metzger Honored, and Other RJO Attorneys Appointed to Leadership for 2014-15 at ABA Annual Meeting

Aaron Silberman has been elected to be an officer of the Public Contract Law Section. He will serve as Secretary in 2014-15 and will ultimately serve as Chair in 2017-18. He and Sharon Larkin, Section’s Immediate Past Chair, will serve as Co-Chairs of the Section’s Publications Board. Ms. Larkin and Patricia Meagher, also a former Chair of the Section, will serve as honorary members of the Section Council and as Fellows. Ms. Meagher also will continue to serve as Section Liaison to the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and will co-chair the Section’s 50th Anniversary Program at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL.

Oliya Zamaray was recognized as Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee, which the Section awarded the “2013-2014 Committee of the Year Award”; the work of the Committee Co-Chairs was noted for “significant contributions to attorney development, Section programming, and the practice of Public Contract Law.” Ms. Zamaray also received an award for her contribution as Co-Chair for Annual and Quarterly Programs in appreciation for her “creativity, determination, and tenacity in bringing to successful completion the educational program endeavors of the Section during 2013-2014.” She was reappointed as Co-Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee and Vice Chair of the Contract Claims and Disputes Resolution Committee, and she will co-chair the Section’s upcoming Fall Program in Miami, FL.

Robert Metzger and others were honored by the ABA Section of International Law for their work on the India Law News in 2013-14. Mr. Metzger served as the Guest Co-Editor of two of the four issues of ILN, both on civil aviation in India, and authored an article for each of those issues. These articles are available at this link. The ILN was co-awarded the Section’s 2014 Outstanding Committee Newsletter award. Link. Mr. Metzger has also been appointed by the International Law Section to continue as a Vice Chair of its India and Aerospace & Defense Industries Committees and as a member of the Steering Group of its International Procurement Committee. In the Public Contract Law Section, he will also continue to serve as Vice Chair of the State and Local Model Procurement Code Committee and on the Counterfeit Parts Task Force.

Several other RJO attorneys were also appointed to ABA leadership positions: Jeffery Chiow will continue to serve as a Vice Chair of the Public Contract Law Section’s Acquisition Reform & Emerging Issues; Privacy, Data Protection & Cybersecurity; and Battlespace & Contingency Procurements Committees; and to serve on its Counterfeit Parts Task Force. Dennis Callahan will continue as a Vice Chair of the Section’s Bid Protest Committee. And, in the ABA Section of Litigation, Merri Baldwin will continue as co-chair of the Attorney Liability Subcommittee of the Section’s Professional Liability Litigation Committee.


RJO Welcomes Government Contracts Shareholder Sharon Larkin to DC Office

RJO is pleased to announce that Sharon L. Larkin has joined our DC office as a shareholder. Ms. Larkin concentrates her practice on government contracts and construction litigation and counseling. She has an in-depth understanding of public procurement and extensive experience in bid protests, claims litigation, and alternative dispute resolution. Ms. Larkin provides practical solutions to solving client problems, and educates clients on the issues they must address to be successful contractors.

Ms. Larkin brings to the firm experience from both the public and private sector. She recently joined the firm after twelve years with the Government Accountability Office (GAO), where she served as a Judge on GAO Contract Appeals Board and an Assistant General Counsel in the Procurement Law Division. There, Ms. Larkin presided over some of the most complex bid protests and contract appeals, including disputes involving the acquisition and performance of contracts involving complex weapons systems, environmental remediation, healthcare services, information technology, and the modernization and renovation of the United States Supreme Court. During her time at GAO, she issued more than 370 public decisions, presided over more than 40 hearings and trials, and conducted more than 65 alternative dispute resolution sessions. Ms. Larkin has won numerous awards for distinguished service, including the GAO Meritorious Service Award from the Comptroller General in 2007, and several Office of General Counsel Outstanding Achievement Awards.

Prior to GAO, Ms. Larkin was a government contracts and construction attorney in private practice, where she counseled clients on a variety of procurement and construction matters and litigated cases at GAO, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Federal Circuit, and various boards of contract appeals. Thus, Ms. Larkin is able to provide sound client advice based on experience both as an advocate and an adjudicator.

Ms. Larkin is a frequent lecturer on government contracting matters and has taught numerous classes on contract formation and administration, litigation practice, and alternative dispute resolution. Ms. Larkin is the current chair of the ABA Section of Public Contact Law (2013-2014), a position she earned after serving in multiple other leadership positions with the Section. She is also an active member of the Board of Contract Appeals Bar Association and Court of Federal Claims Bar Association. At the beginning of her legal career, Ms. Larkin served as a law clerk to the Honorable Moody R. Tidwell, III, at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. She obtained her law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1998, and a B.A. in Medical Technology in Laboratory Medicine from Albany College of Pharmacy in 1987.


Aaron M. Scolari Joins RJO

Aaron Scolari has joined the firm as an associate in the Labor and Employment practice group. He represents employers in a wide variety of employment matters. He has particular experience litigating claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and wage and hour violations. In addition to litigating matters, Mr. Scolari advises and counsels management on various aspects of the employment relationship, including complex wage and hour issues, leaves of absence, disability accommodation, and terminations. He obtained his law degree from the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law in 2004 and a B.A. from the University of San Francisco in 1999.


Five RJO Attorneys Named "Super Lawyers" for 2014

Rogers Joseph O'Donnell is proud to announce that five of its attorneys have been included among Super Lawyers magazine's top attorneys for 2014 in Northern California. Merri Baldwin, Robert Goodman, John Heller, Roland Nikles, and Neil O'Donnell were named to the 2014 Super Lawyers' list for the Northern California Region. Ms. Baldwin was recognized for her work in Professional Liability: Defense. Mr. Goodman was honored as a top Environmental Litigation lawyer. Mr. Heller was recognized as being among the top lawyers in Business Litigation. Mr. Nikles was honored for his Construction Litigation work. Finally, Mr. O’Donnell was again recognized as a top lawyer in Government Contracts. Super Lawyers names top lawyers in Northern California, chosen by their peers and through the independent research of Law & Politics. Super Lawyers selects the top 5 percent of Northern California attorneys in more than 60 practice areas. The list of Northern California Super Lawyers is published annually in the August issue of San Francisco Magazine and Northern California Super Lawyers.


RJO Attorneys Contribute Government Contracts Article to the American University Law Review

As part of the American University Law Review’s recently published annual volume that examines the most important decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, RJO attorneys Dennis Callahan, Jeffrey Chiow, Lauren Kramer, and Oliya Zamaray co-authored an article that analyzes the Federal Circuit’s precedential government contracts decisions from 2013. 

Except in the rare instances where the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear a further appeal, the Federal Circuit has the final word on questions of law that arise in government contracts cases. The RJO attorneys’ article examines the Federal Circuit’s recent jurisprudence in bid protests, contractor claims, and in jurisdictional questions concerning government contracts disputes and other related appeals. In addition to recapping the 2013 developments in the Federal Circuit, the piece explains how government contractors can best frame their disputes to take advantage of these precedents, or to avoid them, as the case may be.


Aaron Silberman Quoted on Statute of Limitations Decision in Lance Armstrong Federal False Claims Act Case

RJO government contracts attorney Aaron Silberman was quoted extensively in the Federal Contracts Report (FCR) for June 24, 2014 (Vol. 101, No. 23, pp. 630-631), reporting on a significant federal False Claims Act (FCA) decision in an article titled “False Claims Act: District Court Permits Claims That Armstrong, Others Violated the FCA" (PDF). In the article, Mr. Silberman comments on the significance of U.S. ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corp. on statute of limitations issues, specifically the difficult standard a defendant faces in seeking on a motion to dismiss government claims on the basis that the responsible U.S. official should have known of the alleged fraud more than three years prior to the original filing of the lawsuit. The decision is also significant in two other respects. First, it departs from the same court’s prior decision in U.S. ex rel. Pogue v. Diabetes Treatment Centers of America that qui tam relators may rely on the tolling provision in the FCA statute of limitations (the minority view). And, second, it is the first reported decision to disagree with the Fourth Circuit decision in 2013 in U.S. ex rel. Carter v. Halliburton Co. that the Wartime Suspensions Limitations Act (WSLA), suspended the FCA’s statute of limitations for both relator and government FCA claims arising during the U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Silberman commented in an earlier FCR article on the Carter v. Halliburton decision as well (PDF).


Government Contracts Group Recognized Again by Chambers

For the tenth consecutive year, Chambers USA has recognized Rogers Joseph O'Donnell as one of the premier government contracts law firms in the United States. RJO is proud to be the only boutique-sized firm to be ranked among the country's nine best government contracts firms. Chambers describes our firm as having “a strong and highly respected government contracts practice” noting particularly “expertise in bid protests and sensitive, internal investigations.” It quotes sources as recognizing the firm’s “incredibly thorough work” and “significant depth of experience” in both federal and state matters. Founding shareholder Neil O'Donnell is ranked by Chambers as one of only nine top (“Band 1”) government contracts attorneys in the nation. Chambers states that clients recognized Mr. O'Donnell as “a terrific lawyer” whose “practical advice [is held] in high regard” and have singled him out as a “tremendous advocate.” Bob Metzger, who heads our Washington office, is also ranked as a “notable practitioner.” He is praised for his breadth of “expertise in international, federal, state and local government contracting.” Clients rely on his “depth of knowledge” and effective contacts, as well as his credentials in “supply chain risk management and counterfeit parts avoidance.” To view the Chambers USA rankings for Rogers Joseph O'Donnell, visit the Chambers USA Website.


RJO Gets $1M+ Claim Dismissed

RJO attorneys John Heller and Lauren Kramer filed a successful motion to dismiss a $1M+ contract claim on behalf of a new RJO client. Ms. Kramer argued the motion before the Northern District of California, which issued an opinion dismissing the claim for lack of personal jurisdiction in California. The written opinion adopted much of the reasoning advanced by RJO in its briefs and at oral argument.


Neil O’Donnell and Aaron Silberman Recognized in Who’s Who Legal 2014

Who’s Who Legal, as a result of its research with clients and peers, has recognized Neil O'Donnell and Aaron Silberman among the leading individuals worldwide in 2014 within the practice areas of Public Procurement and Construction, respectively. More info at


Robert Metzger Interviewed about New Defense Department Rules on Detection and Avoidance of Counterfeit Parts

Bob Metzger was interviewed on May 13, 2014 for nearly an hour on a VoiceAmerica Internet Radio site, “People to People: Working Together for Your Safety,” on the subject of the new Defense Department rules on detection and avoidance of counterfeit parts. Bob discussed how these rules would operate, key areas of uncertainty and implementation challenge, and how they might affect the broader technology supply chain. Bob’s interview.


Jeffery Chiow and Lucas Hanback Named Rising Stars

The 2014 Washington DC Super Lawyers Magazine has identified Jeff Chiow and Lucas Hanback as “Rising Stars” in the field of Government Contracts. Jeff and Lucas were aviation and artillery officers, respectively, in the United States Marine Corps and both graduated from The George Washington University Law School. RJO established its Washington office in 2011 with a focus on government contracts, leveraging the firm’s 30+-year reputation for excellence in the field.


RJO Attorneys Contribute to New ABA Construction Subcontracting Book

RJO attorneys made significant contributions to Construction Subcontracting: A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide, a book just released by the American Bar Association (ABA) Forum on the Construction Industry. Aaron P. Silberman was the lead editor for the book. Mr. Silberman co-authored Chapter 5, “Mechanic’s Liens and Other Remedies," with the assistance of Tyson Arbuthnot. Mr. Silberman and Mark J. Linderman co-authored Chapter 9, “Terminations,” with the assistance of Walter S. Chen. And Mr. Silberman and Robert M. Osier co-authored Chapter 17, “Public Projects (Federal, State, and Local),” with the assistance of Syreeta Tyrell. RJO is extremely proud of this publication, which has been endorsed by counsel for the American Subcontractors Association and for the Associated General Contractors of America. For further information, visit the ABA Webstore.


RJO Defeats Incumbent Bid Protest at Acadia National Park

RJO Attorneys Neil O'Donnell, Lauren Kramer and Jeffery Chiow successfully defeated a pre-award bid protest of a 10-year National Park Service concession contract at Acadia National Park. RJO represented Dawnland, LLC, a subsidiary of Ortega National Parks, LLC which holds several other NPS concession contracts around the country. Plaintiff, the incumbent contractor which had performed the work since 1932, argued that the award was arbitrary and capricious because the final contract allegedly failed to include many critical elements of the awardee Dawnland's proposal and because aspects of the evaluation were flawed. Plaintiff sought injunctive and declaratory relief.

Rejecting plaintiff’s arguments, the court held that concession contracts are not procurements, so plaintiff’s potential recovery was limited to bid preparation and proposal costs. The court also found that the final contract fairly reflected Dawnland’s proposal and that, in any case, the Park Service is not required to include every advantageous feature of an awardee’s proposal in the final concession contract but instead has broad discretion in choosing the appropriate terms to add. Finally, the court held that minor evaluation errors had no prejudicial impact, and so the award to Dawnland was valid.

This decision paves the way for Dawnland to begin its operations at Acadia National Park for the 2014 season. The full opinion is available here.


RJO Welcomes Lucas T. Hanback

Lucas Hanback has joined the firm as an associate in the Government Contracts practice group in the D.C. office. After graduating from Virginia Tech, he served with distinction in the U.S. Marine Corps. Completing his active duty as a Captain, Lucas was deployed as an Artillery Officer in combat operations in Iraq. He subsequently joined the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton where he worked on a variety of defense-related projects as a Senior Consultant. Lucas graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School in 2011. He was a member of the Public Contract Law Journal and was on the winning team of the 2010 Government Contracts Moot Court Competition. He began his legal career with Blank Rome LLP. Lucas has extensive experience litigating before the Government Accountability Office, the Boards of Contract Appeals, and the Court of Federal Claims. He represents companies before state and federal courts, in administrative proceedings, and in Inspector General investigations and audits, and provides counsel to companies specializing in health care technology, shipping, energy, document management, information technology, and clients providing professional services to the U.S. and state governments. RJO opened its D.C. office just over two years ago. With Lucas on board, the office grows to four attorneys, all focused on government contracts. Including the D.C. team, RJO now has fifteen lawyers in its nationally ranked government contracts practice.


RJO Clients Win Federal Circuit Reversal in HUD Protest

In a precedential opinion with important implications for how the federal government purchases services, RJO attorneys Neil O'Donnell, Dennis Callahan and Jeffery Chiow helped three clients secure a complete victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The unanimous opinion by Chief Judge Rader held that the Department of Housing and Urban Development must use procurement contracts, which are subject to the Competition in Contracting Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, to obtain contract administration services in support of the Agency’s Section 8 project-based housing assistance program. The ruling reversed a 2013 Court of Federal Claims decision holding that HUD properly could solicit “cooperative agreements” for this work, which grant-type agreements are not subject to the restrictions imposed by CICA and the FAR.

The Federal Circuit’s opinion relied heavily on arguments RJO developed two years ago in its protest to the Government Accountability Office, which the GAO sustained.  (HUD disregarded GAO’s recommendation that HUD cancel the solicitation for cooperative agreements and re-solicit the work. HUD’s disregard of the GAO recommendation caused RJO and other protesters’ counsel to file protests in the COFC.)

The Federal Circuit decision will require HUD to hold a “full and open” competition (or to justify any restrictions on competition) for the $260 million in annual contract administration services contracts subject to the decision. More broadly, the decision governs the scrutiny that the GAO and the COFC are to apply in bid protests that challenge a federal agency’s solicitation of grant-type agreements, when procurement contracts should be used. RJO’s clients in this case are Assisted Housing Services Corporation, California Affordable Housing Initiatives, Inc., and North Tampa Housing Development Corporation.


RJO Lawyer Provides Pro Bono Housing Services

RJO associate Kevin Shipp has begun providing pro bono legal services to low-income tenants and landlords. Through the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Justice and Diversity Center, Mr. Shipp represents tenants facing eviction through the Housing Negotiation Project. Mr. Shipp also provides assistance to landlords through the Low-Income Landlord Eviction Assistance Clinic at the Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, California. The clinic is operated by The Volunteer Legal Service Corporation (VLSC) which is the pro bono arm of the Alameda County Bar Association.


Jeffery Chiow Argues Before Federal Circuit

Jeff Chiow argued before a three-judge panel of the Federal Circuit, representing a former Naval Officer, in a case that may have a significant impact on claims by military servicemembers. The Federal Circuit panel, chaired by Chief Judge Rader, is considering a jurisdictional question of first impression – whether an injured servicemember who is placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List (“TDRL”) is entitled to an extension of the statute of limitations for claims during his or her service on the TDRL, pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“the Act”). Mr. Chiow succeeded in convincing the Court of Federal Claims in a 2011 decision that the limitations period for his client’s claims was extended by operation of the Act while she was on the TDRL. (Opinion).


RJO Attorneys Successfully Defeat Plaintiffs’ Second Attempt at Conditional Certification in an FLSA Matter

Shareholder Gayle Athanacio and associate Sharon Rossi successfully defeated a renewed motion for conditional certification in a Fair Labor Standards Act case in federal district court in Georgia. In that action, RJO represents a medical products corporation, which is being sued by several former employees for wage and hour violations. This was Plaintiffs’ second attempt for conditional certification. (RJO initially defeated conditional certification in November 2012). At the same time that RJO defeated the renewed motion for class certification, they also successfully moved to strike the claims of four potential new plaintiffs. James “Jay” Rollins of Schwartz Rollins LLC assisted as local counsel. For more information about RJO’s Employment Practice Group Click here.


Robert Metzger Submits Written Testimony to The DOD

Bob Metzger submitted written testimony on March 27 to the public meeting held by the Defense Department on how to qualify “trusted suppliers” of microelectronic part. This is part of DoD’s ongoing rule-making to implement laws that require industry to avoid counterfeit parts. The Bloomberg BNA’s Federal Contracts Reports story on the public meeting featured Bob’s observations (PDF). He emphasized the importance of actions that rely upon individual contractors to decide upon suppliers and test and inspection measures to improve assurance of authenticity.


Aaron Silberman Quoted in Article on New Federal False Claims Act Decision

RJO government contracts attorney Aaron Silberman was quoted extensively in the Federal Contracts Report for March 18, 2014, reporting on a significant federal False Claims Act (FCA) decision in an article titled “Fourth Circuit Reinstates Portion of FCA Claims After ‘Arm-of-the-State’ Analysis” (PDF). In the article, Mr. Silberman comments on the significance of U.S. ex rel. Oberg v. Pa. Higher Educ. Assistance Agency to the many state-created corporations that rely on federal government dollars.


RJO Participates in Food From the Bar

RJO will join other law firms in participating in the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Food From the Bar program again this year. Participating firms collect cash donations and food for the Food Bank of San Francisco and Marin. Last year, San Francisco firms and legal departments raised $600,760, collected 6721 pounds of food, and donated 902 volunteer shifts to the food bank.


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Recent Publications

Cybersecurity for the Rest of Us: Protecting Federal Information of Civilian Agencies, Bloomberg BNA Federal Contracts Report, 103 FCR, Mar. 10, 2015, by R. Metzger (PDF)

Key Changes to California Employment Law in 2015, RJO Update, January 2015,

Litigation Strategies for Gov. Contracts, 2015 ed.: Leading Lawyers on Understanding the False Claims Act, Filing Bid Protests, and Working with Gov. Agencies (Inside the Minds), Thompson Reuters, 2014, by A. Silberman (opening ch., titled “Gov. Contracts Litigation in 2014 and Beyond: More Protests and Enforcement Actions, Fewer but Better Claims, and ADR Early and Often”) Thompson Reuters

View From RJO: A Standards-Based Way To Avoid Counterfeit Electronic Parts, Bloomberg BNA Federal Contracts Report, 102 FCR 540, Nov. 4, 2014, by R. Metzger (PDF)

How FATCA Will Affect Brokers Dealing with Foreign Insurers and Agents, California Broker, Life Insurance, Oct. 2014, by D. Paik (PDF)

State False Claims Acts: A Practitioner's Guide to the False Claims Acts of the Various States, ABA Publishing, 2014, by A. Silberman and D. Callahan, contributing authors ABA Webstore

Termination for Convenience of the Government: Key Issues for Contractor Recovery, Briefing Papers, Thomson Reuters, Sept. 2014, by P. Meagher and O. Zamaray, contributing authors (PDF)

New Rule Addresses Supply Chain Assurance, National Defense, NDIA's Business and Technology Magazine, in which Bob Metzger has contributed a column in the "Ethics Corner" of the October 2014 issue (PDF)

View From RJO: Risk-Based Acquisition Strategies to Avoid Failed IT Projects, Bloomberg BNA Federal Contracts Report, 102 FCR, Sept. 23, 2014, by R. Metzger and M Linderman (PDF)

Indiana V. IBM: What's At Stake For IT Contractors, Law360, Sept. 15, 2014, by R. Metzger and M. Linderman (PDF)

Filing Protests At Both GAO And COFC Can Be Useful, Law360, Aug. 13, 2014, by S. Larkin (PDF)

State and Local: How Public Agencies May (or May Not) Terminate Contracts, The Procurement Lawyer, Vol. 49, No. 4, Summer 2014, by A. Silberman (PDF)

Supply Chain Security: Initiatives to Defend Against the Threats of Counterfeit Parts, IPC APEX Expo 2014, March 26, 2014, by R. Metzger, Video interview featuring Mark Northrup of IEC Electronics

Construction Subcontracting: A Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide, ABA Publishing, 2014, by A. Silberman, lead editor and co-author; M. Linderman, R. Osier, co-authors; T. Arbuthnot, W. Chen, S Tyrell, contributers (ABA Webstore)

An Ounce of Prevention: Managing Disqualification Risks through Advance Conflict Waivers, IP Litigator, March/April 2014, by M. Baldwin (PDF)

Hoping for Summary Judgment on California False Claims? Au Contreras, AGC California Legal Brief, Mar. 2014, by A. Silberman and D. Callahan (PDF)

Convergence of Counterfeit and Cyber Threats: Understanding New Rules on Supply Chain Risk, Bloomberg BNA Federal Contracts Report, 101 FCR, Feb. 18, 2014, by R. Metzger (PDF)

Privacy vs. Security -- A zero sum game? Jan. 2014, by J. Chiow (PDF)

Challenges Facing Civil Aviation in India, Indian Defence Review, Vol. 28:4, Oct.-Dec. 2013, by R. Metzger

GSA Multiple Award Schedule Contracting: Lessons From 2013, Law360, Dec. 18, 2013, by R. Metzger, J. Chiow and O. Zamaray (PDF)

Lawyers Representing Startups: Managing Ethical Obligations and Risks, California Bar Journal,
Dec., 2013, by M. Baldwin

New DOD Cybersecurity Program Expected To Significantly Affect IT Contractors, Bloomberg BNA Federal Contracts Report, 100 FCR 472, in which Bob Metzger is quoted on supply chain rules, Nov. 19, 2013 (PDF)

Advanced regional turboprop aircraft: Solutions to India's aviation infrastructure restraints, The Economic Times, Nov. 10, 2013, by R. Metzger

The Many Challenges Facing Civil Aviation in India, India Law News, ABA Section of International Law, Vol. 4, Issue 3, Fall 2013 (PDF) by R. Metzger

The Risks of Hiding Accounts and Assets in Korea Are Going Up (in 5 parts), Korea Daily, Sept. 23-27, 2013 (in Original Korean: (PDF); (in English Translation: (PDF) by D. Paik

Offsets Loom Large As Defense Firms Sell More Abroad, Law 360, Sept. 30, 2013 (PDF) by R. Metzger

"Do defence PSU's make better joint venture partners for foreign companies?" Feature article, The Economic Times (India), in which Bob Metzger quoted extensively on challenges in forming successful joint ventures with state-owned and private sector companies in India, July 7, 2013

DoD's public meeting - discussion of the proposed DFAR rule on detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. Robert Metzger's prepared statement is posted on the DoD Defense Procurement Acquisition Policy web site, June 28, 2013

"New DOD Counterfeit Prevention Policy: Resolves Responsibilities Within DOD But Leaves Many Contractor Questions Unresolved," Federal Contracts Report, a publication of Bloomberg BNA, May 15, 2013 (PDF) by R. Metzger

"India's Defense Procurement: Responses to the New Scandal, India and the United States: The Evolving Legal Landscape," April 27, 2013 (PDF) by R. Metzger

"The Importance of Competitive Negotiations to State Information Technology Procurement," The Procurement Lawyer, Section of Public Contract Law, ABA, Vol. 48, No. 3 - Spring 2013 (PDF) by R. Metzger and L. Kramer

"Discoverability of Witness Interviews: To What Extent Do the Work Product Doctrine and/or the Attorney-Client Privilege Apply," California Bar Journal, State Bar of California, February 2013, by M. Baldwin