government contractors

Earlier this week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) lawsuit against General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. (“GDIT”), on the basis that GDIT was immune from suit as a government contractor under what is known as the “Yearsley doctrine.”  Craig Cunningham v. GDIT, No. 17-1592 (Apr. 24, 2018).

GDIT was hired to assist the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), a government agency, by calling individuals using an autodialer and a pre-approved script to provide information about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.  When plaintiff Craig Cunningham received one of these calls, he filed a lawsuit alleging that GDIT had violated the TCPA for failing to obtain his prior consent.

The Fourth Circuit agreed with the lower court finding that GDIT was immune from suit under the Supreme Court’s Yearsley doctrine.  In Yearsley, the Supreme Court held that the doctrine of sovereign immunity that traditionally applies to the U.S. government may be extended to government contractors in instances where (1) the government authorized the contractor’s actions in question; and (2) the government “validly conferred” such authorization.  Yearsley v. W.A. Ross Construction Co., 309 U.S. 18, 20-21 (1940).  More recently, the Supreme Court applied the Yearsley doctrine to the TCPA, holding that contractors may be exempt from TCPA claims so long as they are lawfully acting on behalf of the government.  Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez, 136 S. Ct. 663, 672 (2016).

Continue Reading 4th Circuit Affirms Dismissal of TCPA Suit Based on ‘Derivative Sovereign Immunity’

By Tom Jackson and Phil Bradley-Schmieg

A cross-party group of UK Members of Parliament (“MPs”) is seeking to amend the UK’s ‘freedom of information’ regime under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”) to also cover current and prospective private sector suppliers to the National Health Service (“NHS”) in England and Wales.

The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill (HC Bill 84) (the “Bill”) was introduced in the House of Commons on September 1, 2014, and was first published on October 28, 2014.  It was submitted by Labour MP Grahame Morris, with the support of a cross-party group of MPs from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Green parties.

If the Bill is enacted, it would place current and prospective suppliers of services to the NHS under significant transparency obligations in relation to:

  • bids, contracts, and service performance for the NHS in England and Wales, and
  • penalties relating to healthcare services imposed on the company, its officers, employees, affiliates or partners during the past five years, anywhere in the world.

This post provides a high-level look at these proposals.

Continue Reading UK Parliamentarians Seek FOI Changes To Force Private Sector Suppliers To Disclose NHS Contract Details