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Using FOIA To Strengthen and Assess Government Contract Claims and Executive Action Challenges Webinar
November 13 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Many view the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as a mechanism to obtain documents in the United States Government’s possession to uncover the next “scandal” or to bolster a newspaper or magazine article. Others may understand FOIA in the context of a competitor’s request for confidential business information that could be used to gain an advantage in future contract competitions or product developments.
Many do not realize that FOIA is a powerful, significant and cost-effective tool that can be used prior to commencing litigation to assess the merits of a dispute and to bolster underlying positions. For example, prior to submitting a claim to the Government under the Contract Disputes Act, a contractor can use FOIA to obtain documents to assess the viability of a theory of entitlement or to further support the factual underpinning of a claim. Along the same lines, an individual or company seeking to challenge an Executive Branch policy/action can submit a FOIA request to obtain pertinent documents about the issue that can be used to strengthen a complaint. A party also can use FOIA to obtain pertinent documents during a proceeding where discovery may otherwise be limited, or to guard against potential future discovery issues such as document spoliation. In other words, FOIA essentially offers a unique opportunity for pre-claim/litigation discovery.
Designed for lawyers and contracting professionals, this course will focus on various facets of the FOIA process: from identifying when to submit the request to understanding what documents can be produced through FOIA to formulating a FOIA request which will require the Government to produce the most relevant and responsive documents in a timely manner to negotiating with the FOIA office to litigating a FOIA dispute. Drawing from many years of experience, the instructors (Justin Ganderson and Kevin Barnett of Covington & Burling LLP) will offer practical advice critical to using FOIA as an effective tool in the claims resolution process, and to resolving potential FOIA disputes. Ultimately, by offering best practices, this course will leave participants well-versed in the FOIA process, thereby increasing the potential to uncover pertinent documents that can be used to assess, support or defend against a claim.
This course will help participants:
• Promptly identify where FOIA may be able to provide pertinent documents related to a potential dispute;
• Craft FOIA requests that are more likely to result in the timely production of responsive and pertinent documents;
• Understand how to navigate FOIA regulations;
• Understand what documents are exempt from disclosure under FOIA;
• Learn how to utilize FOIA to assess and develop litigation position;
• Learn how to utilize FOIA to obtain pertinent documents in instances where discovery may be limited;
• Learn how FOIA can be used to help preserve relevant documents within the Government’s control; and
• Understand what to expect when informally resolving or litigating an issue stemming from the Government’s refusal to produce documents under FOIA.
The Public Contracting Institute is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website: www.nasbaregistry.org.