A final hearing to help determine if the Savannah River Site’s management and operations contractor overcharged the federal government by $5 million will likely be held in October, according to a status report filed Monday in the lawsuit.
The joint report was submitted by legal teams for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) and the U.S. Department of Justice, briefly detailing their interaction with the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA). Per a December 2016 order from U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs, the board is to provide an opinion on whether SRNS wrongfully submitted invoices to the Department of Energy for certain expenses while operating the nuclear site near Aiken, S.C.
The parties are required to file status reports every four months until the CBCA makes a decision. In the report Monday, they said the discovery, or fact-finding, phase of the CBCA’s work was completed in late March. Now, the parties and the board are preparing for a prehearing conference call on June 21, which should help expedite the hearing by ensuring all necessary information is provided to both sides.
“The CBCA panel intends to conduct a two-week final hearing in this matter during October 2018. The parties do not anticipate a final decision from the CBCA prior to November of 2018,” SRNS and the Justice Department stated.
The department sued SRNS – and one of its parent companies, Fluor – on March 18, 2016, claiming the contractor bought items that were not covered under the contract. Specific purchases were not listed, but the federal government alleged SRNS overcharged the government $5 million by filing 573 unlawful reimbursement claims, from Oct. 8, 2008, to Dec. 31, 2015.
In her 2016 ruling, Childs dismissed the notion that SRNS wrongly benefited from the contract, but did not dispute claims that the contractor wrongfully charged the federal government for home office expenses and bid proposals. She instead asked the CBCA to file an opinion on the matter before she issues a final ruling.