Although this blog focuses on numerous issues of interest to the Government contracts community, two types of disputes that get significant attention here are False Claims Act lawsuits and bid protests. Recently, DOJ and GAO issued their annual reports on the volume of activity with respect to such cases, and although these reports are a few weeks old, we wanted to briefly summarize the reports.
With respect to FCA cases, DOJ’s headline explains that the Government recovered “nearly $6 billion from False Claims Act cases in fiscal year 2014”—which was the “first annual recovery to exceed $5 billion.” The amount of money taken in under the the FCA was swollen by recoveries from financial institutions “in the wake of the housing and mortgage crisis.” But the increase is consistent with a three-year trend during which DOJ has “achieved the three largest annual recoveries ever recorded under the statute.” Notably, there was a slight decrease in the number of qui tam complaints filed during the year, with only 713 new filings (compared to 754 last year). But evidence of DOJ’s stepped up approach to FCA cases—and the resulting growth in recoveries—is difficult to miss, and increasingly aggressive FCA enforcement is likely to continue.
Also on the rise is the number of bid protests being pursued at GAO by Government contractors. GAO’s FY 2014 report to Congress revealed a 5% increase in the number of protests filed—up to 2,561—relative to 2013. (Notably, bid protests had been down slightly in FY 2013.) Of the protests resolved during FY 2014, 556 of them resulted in merits decisions. GAO reported a 13% sustain rate, and a 43% “effectiveness rate,” which includes sustained protests and cases in which a protester obtains some form of relief from the agency (e.g., corrective action). For comparison purposes, is a copy of GAO’s table showing its bid protest statistics for fiscal years 2010-2014 is included below: