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In Appeals of Marshall Associated Contractors, Inc. and Columbia Excavation, Inc. (J.V.), IBCA No. 4397F-2002 (June 1, 2006), the Department of Interior Board of Contract Appeals (the "Board") focused on which costs may be recovered per the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"). 

Marshall is notable for being one of the longest-lived cases on the Board's docket.  After Marshall filed numerous pleadings before the Board and other courts, negotiated the restructuring of its debt, and made repeated lobbying efforts with Senators, Congressmen, and a variety of other Government officials, the Board eventually ruled in Marshall's favor.  The parties then attempted to negotiate the amount of Marshall's costs eligible for reimbursement under the EAJA, which is designed to permit small businesses and individuals, including small Government contractors, to recover the costs of pursuing civil litigation against the Government when certain conditions are met.

While the limitations on reimbursable costs under the EAJA may vary based on a particular court's or board's precedent and a particular agency's regulations, some general guidance may be taken from Marshall as well as the EAJA itself.  For example, it is critical that contractors that may become eligible for reimbursement of attorneys' fees and costs under the EAJA keep accurate and detailed records that will clearly identify the nature and amount of compensable costs.  In addition, even when reimbursement is available to a contractor, the amount of recoverable attorneys' fees is usually capped at $125 an hour unless a determination has been made that the cost of living or other special factor justifies higher fees.

This update is published by Venable LLP. Venable publications are not intended to provide legal advice or opinion. Such advice may only be given when related to specific fact situations. © Copyright by Venable LLP 2006.