Department of Energy:

Contractor Litigation Costs

GAO-02-418R: Published: Mar 8, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 2002.

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Gary L. Jones
(202) 512-3464


Office of Public Affairs
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Under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Department of Energy's (DOE) acquisition regulations, DOE can reimburse its contractors for reasonable legal costs associated with cases brought against them in such matters as equal opportunity employment, radiation and toxic exposure, personal injury, and wrongful discharge. Such costs are not reimbursable if there is liability related to the contractor's willful misconduct, lack of good faith, or failure to exercise prudent business judgment. In practice, DOE reimburses its contractors for most of the legal costs. From fiscal year 1995 through the third quarter of fiscal year 2001, there have been more than 2,100 cases and DOE has reimbursed its contractors more than $290 million for associated litigation and disposition costs. The contractors have spent $13 million in their defense. In the same time period, there have been nearly 400 equal employment opportunity cases for which DOE reimbursed its contractors $53 million. The contractors spent $2 million.

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