Bob Symon practices in the areas of construction and government contract law. Clients routinely seek out Bob’s advice to assist in such matters as protesting government procurement decisions, interpreting the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), prosecuting claims under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA) or insuring compliance with ethical obligations to name just a few. Indeed, Bob has enjoyed considerable success for clients prosecuting and defending bid protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the United States Court of Federal Claims. Similarly, he has litigated contract disputes with equal success throughout the country in federal and state forums in a wide variety of complex construction claims. Types of projects which have been the subject matter of claims Bob has handled over the years, include office buildings, military housing, multi-use facilities, data centers, courthouses, prisons, condominiums, hotels, waste water treatment plants, laboratories, test facilities, manufacturing plants, clinics and hospitals.
Notwithstanding his extensive litigation experience, Bob has developed a reputation as a quick study and someone who recognizes the benefits of resolving contract disputes at an early stage through negotiated settlements or alternative disputes resolution mechanisms (such as mediation) before the onset of extensive and costly discovery efforts. However, even when cases have proceeded through discovery to arbitration or litigation, results typically have exceeded client expectations due to his tenacity, organizational skills, preparedness and persuasiveness.
Bob’s tenaciousness is demonstrated no better by his recent appellate victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on behalf of Metcalf Construction Company, Inc. The reported decision involved multiple failures by the federal government to properly administer a construction contract. The Metcalf case involved a $50 million contract to design and build 212 duplex housing units for the United States Navy on a Marine Corps base in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Due to unanticipated soil conditions and other issues, made worse by the failure of the government to administer the contract fairly and according to its terms, Metcalf Construction spent more than $76 million to finish the project. The Federal Circuit clarified important legal principles that are critical to the fair administration of “all” contracts with the federal government. The decision also alleviated the concerns of many in the government contract community who were very critical of the lower court’s ruling and its negative impact on the construction industry if permitted to stand.
Another recent success in Bob’s resume includes the litigation of a complex construction defect claim for Moreland Corporation involving a VA medical clinic lease in a multi-party lawsuit in Las Vegas, Nevada. First, he negotiated a favorable settlement for Moreland, the client-owner of the facility, against the designer and contractor for design and construction defects. Next, the underlying defects spawned a termination of this same lease by the VA and Moreland filed a wrongful termination claim at the United States Court of Federal Claims. In a reported case, Bob was able to get the termination overturned and obtained an $18 million judgment against the Government for damages related to the lease. In yet another reported victory for Bob at the federal court level, his interpretation of a contract provision for Jacobs Engineering was upheld on the application of a cost-sharing provision included in a research and development contract for a Department of Energy project in Morgantown, WV, after the contract was terminated for the convenience of the government. Again, the hotly contested issue resulted in a million dollar recovery for the client.
Other successes, although unreported, include the prosecution of a claim for a mechanical subcontractor in Maryland state court related to work performed on a semiconductor plant in Manassas, Virginia. Arbitration of the damages portion of the case resulted in a multi-million dollar recovery for the client. In another matter, Bob defended a manufacturer of precast panels against a design defect claim for a project in King of Prussia, PA. After the conduct of some discovery, Bob was able to demonstrate that the problem resulted from installation problems and the case quickly settled. He also recently assisted a client to successfully negotiate the settlement of a differing site condition claim involving the unexpected discovery of unexploded ordnance on a construction project at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Once again, the result was a multi-million dollar recovery for the client. In the bid protest arena, Bob actively litigates preaward and post award controversies. At this point in his career, he has represented clients in over 100 protests. In one of the largest contracts ever overturned at GAO, Bob successfully represented a disappointed bidder in a protest involving a $22.8 billion contract awarded by the Department of Energy for the consolidation of management and operating activities at two nuclear facilities. Bob helped an internationally known engineering firm, Jacobs Technology, defend a contract award decision by the Air Force at Hanscomb Air Force Base worth $700 million. Moreover, Bob has also had exceptional success at the United States Court of Federal Claims overturning erroneous decisions by GAO as demonstrated by several reported decisions.