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One Employee's Fraud Bars Company's Monetary Claim


In Laguna Constr. Co. v. Carter (July 15), the Federal Circuit denied Laguna’s claim seeking $2.9 million in unpaid invoices because an employee pled guilty to accepting subcontract kickbacks in Iraq – fraudulent conduct that the court imputed to the company and ruled was a breach of the “Allowable Cost and Payment” clause. The court ruled that the ASBCA had jurisdiction to rule on the government’s affirmative defense of “prior material breach” that was based on a fraud conviction, that this affirmative defense does not require a separate CO final decision per Maropakis, and that the contractor’s fraud-based breach excused the government’s subsequent breach (failure to pay for the completed and invoiced work) – a reminder to contractors of the importance of ethics training and monitoring.

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

J. Chris Haile
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2898

Stephen J. McBrady
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2547

Brian Tully McLaughlin
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2628

Skye Mathieson
Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202.624.2606

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 550 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm has offices in Brussels, Doha, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

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