Case Studies

Client:
SUFI

Team:
Partner Rick Claybrook.
Partner Brian Tully McLaughlin.

What Our Clients Say:
"I attended every day of the five-week trial. Crowell & Moring's attorneys not only worked hard, but were terrific both in and out of the courtroom. What we formed was not an 'attorney-client relationship,' but a true, caring friendship."

- Steve Myers, Jr.
Managing Director, SUFI

Standing up for the little guy

Challenge:
Help SUFI, a small telephone company, inexperienced in government contracts, go up against the Air Force in a contract dispute. The Air Force effectively was forcing SUFI off of overseas military bases and violating a no-cost contract.

Solution:
We started by seeking a declaration at the Armed Service Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) that SUFI could cancel its contract halfway through its performance. The ASBCA found exactly that—one of the few times ever this has been allowed. We then helped SUFI negotiate the sale of its telephone systems to the Air Force and began to prepare SUFI's monetary claims due to the Air Force's many breaches, including lost profits. However, SUFI, a one-contract company, had no cash flow to finance litigation once it canceled the contract and stopped performance. We solved this together by setting up a contingency fee.

Result:
We achieved record-making damages awards and prosecuted 28 claims for SUFI in a five-week trial in the U.S. and Germany. The ASBCA ruled in SUFI's favor in 22 of those claims, awarding a record-making $3.5 million (without interest). We then successfully prosecuted three motions for reconsideration—another record. The net result: ASBCA increased SUFI's award to over $7 million (over $10 million with interest). We then appealed the ASBCA's decision denying or limiting the damages awarded on certain claims to the Court of Federal Claims, which awarded it over $100 million additional, plus interest. On appeal by the government, the Federal Circuit similarly found fault with most of the ASBCA's damages determinations but held that the court was not permitted to recalculate them itself, remanding back to the Board to correct its errors and award additional damages. On remand, following the guidance and instructions of the CFC and Federal Circuit, the ASBCA awarded SUFI an additional $113 million, plus interest, while denying the Air Force's motion for reconsideration. The government sought review of the ASBCA’s award before the CFC, but its challenge was rejected on the basis that DOJ has no independent right to complain of an award accepted by the contractor. The government then appealed to the Federal Circuit, which affirmed the CFC’s dismissal of DOJ’s challenge and found DOJ’s assertions that the ASBCA failed to comply with the Federal Circuit’s mandate to be meritless.