February 11, 2019
Today, Julie Atwood responded to MSA and Steve Young’s opening brief on appeal at Division 3 of the Washington State Court of Appeals. In her brief, Ms. Atwood outlined the mountain of facts supporting the jury’s $8.1 million verdict in October 2018. Ms. Atwood observed that MSA and Young “chose not to appeal any of those meaty issues [that one typically expects to see in a valid appeal of a jury’s verdict when error was committed during the trial], because [those issues] were correctly and thoughtfully decided by the jury and a hard-working, diligent, and intelligent trial judge [the Honorable Douglas Federspiel], whose well-reasoned written rulings make the case iron clad on appeal. What’s left for MSA and Young to appeal are mainly evidentiary objections.”
MSA and Young get to file a reply brief in 30 days and Ms. Atwood has asked that oral argument be expedited. The date of oral argument will be set later this month.
On February 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a federal lawsuit against MSA and former CEO Jorge Armijo alleging that MSA and Armijo knowingly made false statements to the Department of Energy about their profits and inflated their rates in violation of the False Claims Act. The lawsuit also alleges that Armijo and other MSA executives were paid more than $1 million by a subcontractor in violation of the Anti-Kickback Act. The U.S. Attorney stated, “Fraud, corruption, and self-dealing at Hanford will simply not be tolerated.”
Jack Sheridan said, “we understand that MSA was seeking to rebid the DOE contract at Hanford. The combination of Ms. Atwood’s jury verdict and the DOJ’s lawsuit may disqualify MSA as a competitive applicant on the rebid, which would demonstrate the importance of the judicial branch in regulating improper behavior by big businesses, and in ensuring that the People’s money is properly and honestly spent to benefit the People.”