Terra-Gen developed and built the Alta Wind facilities, and then sold these facilities to the Alta Wind plaintiffs. Alta Wind then filed grant applications from the Treasury Department to recover 30% of the purchase price under a federal statute (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) authorizing the grant payments. Each application submitted to Treasury contained an analysis certified by an accounting firm, allocating the purchase prices of the Alta Wind facilities between eligible and ineligible property. However, Treasury granted only a portion of the 30% purchase price Alta Wind companies had requested. Instead of basing the cash grant awards on the purchase price of eligible property, Treasury based the awards on 30% of how much it had cost Terra-Gen to construct the eligible property.
Section 405 of the federal Salary and Fringe Benefits Act, also known as the Sunday Premium Pay Act, ensures that certain federal employees who performed work on Sundays receive additional compensation. In 2009, the Federal Circuit held in Fathauer v. United States that the word “employee” in this statute includes part-time employees. Up to that time, the government had interpreted the statute to apply only to full-time employees, and had not given Sunday premium pay to part-timers. On October 14, 2011, Annette Jones sued in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of herself and a proposed class of part-time federal employee seeking to recover back pay to March 2003 they believed they were entitled to be paid under this statute.