By Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, July 12, 2010

A-12, The Gift That Keeps On Giving III

Again, the gift is one to lawyers. When I last posted on this (27 November 2009), Boeing and General Dynamics had lost a request for a rehearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit of its decision sustaining the government's default termination of the A-12 program. At that time, Boeing and GD announced that they would take the case to the Supreme Court.

As it turns out, you don't actually get to argue a case before the Supreme Court just because you want to. What you do is petition the Court to hear your case and the judges decide if it's worthy of their review. The Court turns down most petitions although there are reasons why it might find this one interesting, according to the contractors' lawyers anyway. (The Court might also not hear it but kick it back for the rehearing that Boeing and General Dynamics were denied.)

In Boeing's 2009 annual report, it said that it would file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Court on or before March 24, 2010. As it turns out, you can look up the status of cases on the Court's docket. Boeing did file on 23 April. The United States government was to respond on 27 May. It did not however, requesting and receiving extensions on roughly a month-by-month basis. The latest response date is 20 August.

If the Supreme Court decides not to hear the case, Boeing and General Dynamics each have to pay about $1.5 billion in unliquidated progress payments and interest on the payments. On the other hand, if the Court does hear the case and decides that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims got it right in March 1998, then they each get almost $600 million.

If you want to follow all this excitement on your own, go Here.


Anonymous said...

Boeing and General Dynamics had the best PR guy ever during the A-12 program. They'd have you think that these things were starting to roll off the production line when the Government pulled the plug on the whole thing. I was at VX-5 during that time and we had an A-12program office. It was staffed primarily by A-6 Intruder guys who had been sent off to the F/A-18 RAG to familiarize them with glass cockpit displays. PR was that, strictly PR. Boeing and General Dynamics had not even figured out how to make the RAM skins for the airplane when Government killed the program. While that technology was available for a land based aircraft, trying to figure out how to do that for an airplane subject to the carrier environment, was a totally different story.

Anonymous said...

Boeing never was involved in the ATA; they're involved now because they ate McDonnell Douglas who was partnered with GD in the ATA debacle.

If you want to read a good description about why the team had so much problem designing the RAM skins (hint: it wasn't just because it was to be sea based), try and find a copy of "The $5 Billion Misunderstanding" by James P. Stevenson