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David Robbins quoted in PubKLaw: Judge Erases USAID Suspension of IRD

August 3, 2015

David Robbins, chair of the firm’s Government Contracts & Grants practice, and former acting Suspending and Debarring Official, was quoted in a recent PubKLaw article on the decision to erase USAID’s suspension of International Relief and Development (IRD). 

David Robbins of Shulman Rogers, a former Air Force debarring attorney who is not involved with the case, said that suspension and debarment attorneys would be keenly interested the impact of a judicial decision that comes with an injunction and an official repudiation of USAID’s handling of the case.

Because suspension and debarring officials enjoy broad discretion to protect agencies from dealing with unscrupulous or unreliable contractors, contractors rarely litigate suspension decisions, and they rarely win when they do.  IRD, which had acknowledged and widely-reported problems with improper spending, seemed like an unlikely candidate for a decisive court victory, but its appeal to the judge’s sense of fundamental fairness could offer a way forward for other companies seeking to fight suspension and debarment decisions, Robbins said.

“It’s very difficult for a judge to effectively second guess an SDO’s discretionary decision, and that’s why these cases are so hard to win,” Robbins said. “This shows that you can explain the process to a judge in a way that highlights the unfairness. It means the agencies have to get better at doing their work.”

Read the full article at PubKLaw.