Monday, February 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

U.S. Ducks Multimedia Contractor’s Lawsuit

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Air Force properly ended its multimedia services contract with a small business to perform the same services in-house, a federal judge ruled.

Fisher-Cal Industries, a woman-owned Delaware business performing multimedia work on mostly government contracts, sued the Pentagon after the Air Force decided to in-source the work.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said last week, however, that the court lacked jurisdiction to decide whether the government's decision was arbitrary and capricious.

"The Tucker Act and the Administrative Disputes Resolution Act of 1996 confer exclusive jurisdiction over matters related to procurement of federal contracts to the Court of Federal Claims, and this court therefore lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the complaint," Howell wrote.

Fisher-Cal's lawsuit challenged the notion that the government can cut ties with outside contractors to bring the work in-house, even if the contractors offer cheaper rates.

But Howell could not rule on whether the law "requires the defendants to use 'the least costly form of personnel consistent with military requirements and other needs of the department,'" as Fisher-Cal claims.

The company says it has been providing high-tech cameras and computers for graphics and digital imaging for decades, and was nominated by the Air Force in 1992 as "Air Force Small Business of the Year."

Howell noted that the Air Force told Fisher about the in-sourcing nine months into a one-year contract, and continued to use the contractor's services for an additional six months under a bridge contract.

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.