Managing DOE:

The Department's Efforts to Control Litigation Costs

T-RCED-96-170: Published: May 14, 1996. Publicly Released: May 14, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) controls over the litigation costs of defending lawsuits against its management and operating contractors. GAO noted that: (1) DOE outside litigation costs were over $25 million in fiscal year 1995; (2) DOE has improved its control over outside litigation costs by issuing guidance for reimbursable costs and specifying unreimbursable costs, which has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars; (3) DOE cost control guidance is not consistently applied or followed nor is headquarters oversight of field office billing procedures as effective as it could be; (4) other issues that have a greater impact on overall DOE litigation costs include the number of law firms representing DOE contractors, the handling of discovery requests, and database development; and (5) DOE is taking action to address these issues, such as consolidating law firms and contractors in one lawsuit, requiring future codefendants to hire common counsel, issuing guidance on responding to discovery requests, and developing plans to combine litigation case databases.

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