As part of the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010, federal agencies are authorized to award competitive prizes to stimulate innovation. Under this authority, the Federal Trade Commission created the public “Robocall Challenge,” which offered a $50,000 reward to anyone who could develop the best overall solution to “block illegal robocalls on landlines and mobile phones.” The FTC also issued a detailed set of rules governing how the contest would be run and how entries would be judged.

Read more on Court Answers Call to Hear Contract Claim…

Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense Company, the owner of two patents used in ordnance firing systems, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that a Government subcontractor—Pacific Scientific Energetics Company—supplied products to the federal government that infringed Ensign-Bickford’s patents. Seeking $3 million in damages, the complaint alleged that the infringement occurred with the authorization and consent of the United States.

Read more on Court Shoots Down Section 1500 Motion to Dismiss…

Court Cans Tomato Growers’ Taking Claim

September 25, 2014

Plaintiffs, Dimare Fresh, Inc. and other growers, packers, and shippers in Florida and South Georgia, brought a taking lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims alleging that warnings issued by the Federal Drug Administration linking their tomatoes with a salmonella outbreak “caused the loss of all or substantially all of the value of Plaintiffs’ property. . . .”  The warnings, Dimare alleged, had caused the market for their tomatoes to collapse, rendering Plaintiffs’ tomatoes worthless.

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Tucker Act Shuffle, Texas Two-Step—it’s All Rock and Roll to Me

September 25, 2014

In 2008, Florentino L. Mata filed suit in federal district court for the Western District of Texas, claiming that the United States Army breached three provisions of a settlement agreement the parties had reached to resolve an employment discrimination claim.  Because the breach of contract lawsuit sought money damages, the district court transferred the case to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

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Working Overtime

July 11, 2014

On May 8, 2014, Plaintiffs in Martin v. United States, a lawsuit seeking to recover pay for overtime hours worked in 2013, filed a second amended complaint seeking to add 900 additional plaintiffs who intended to opt in upon approval of a class certification. Martin’s motion to amend the complaint also sought to withdraw their Back Pay Act claim, which had been asserted in the First Amended Complaint, without prejudice.

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Spoiler Alert: Go Fish

July 10, 2014

The sheer heft of one of the longest written decisions issued by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in the past year (85 pages) implies a ruling that will have a little something for everyone.  But the result of this ruling is essentially limited to the facts of the case, which is at bottom a title dispute over ownership of the Kingman Reef, a low-lying coral reef atoll located in the Pacific Ocean about 900 nautical miles south of Hawaii.  In fact, much of the decision is devoted to recounting the lengthy history of ownership.  The Government ultimately succeeds in proving that it owned the atoll all along, leaving the plaintiffs with what had been valuable fishing rights but no right to fish.

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