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Using ADR in a federal contract dispute-Part II

Houston companies that do business with the federal government occasionally get into contract disputes. The previous post on our blog site discussed what happens when a business owner chooses to resolve a federal contract dispute using alternate dispute resolution methods.

However, in some cases, ADR methods may not be successful. According to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, when ADR fails to lead to a resolution the dispute is generally referred back to the presiding judge. If that judge was the ADR Neutral, a special set of rules and regulations are applicable.

If the judge, while acting as an ADR Neutral, had private communications with individual parties he or she will not be involved in the remaining proceedings unless all parties and the judge agree the judge may continue to hear the case. However, if no private communications took place when the judge acted as the ADR Neutral, that judge has the choice to continue hearing the case or withdrawing.

If a case is not docketed as an appeal and the parties failed to reach a settlement through ADR, the parties may file a claim with the contracting officer as stipulated under the U.S. Contract Disputes Act. The CBCA will consider the appeal provided that statutory time limits have not expired. Here, it is important to remember that the statute of limitations governing appeals continues to run even if the parties are in the midst of ADR proceedings.

Contract disputes between private contractors and the federal government can be complex. An experienced business law attorney can often help business owners resolve disputes in a reasonable amount of time and in a cost-effective manner.

Source: CBCA.GSA.gov, "If Alternative Dispute Resolution Does Not Result in Settlement," Accessed on June 16, 2015

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