Defending State Law Claims That Implicate National Security

Defending State Law Claims That Implicate National Security


Partner and Chair of the Defense, National Security and Government Contracts Practice Stephen Preston and Partner Andrew Shipley penned an article for Law360 reviewing the recent civil lawsuit between private parties that captured the attention of the US government and cabinet-level officials.

Excerpt: It isn't every day that the US government intervenes in a civil lawsuit between private parties fighting over state law breach of contract claims. It is even rarer to have two cabinet-level officials weigh in with sworn declarations attesting as to why the plaintiff's claims should be dismissed.

That is exactly what happened in a recent case in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia where, after months of hard-fought litigation, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed its claims in the face of declarations from the secretary of defense and the director of national intelligence that the lawsuit could cause "exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."

The story of how this unfolded is a fascinating illustration of how classified information can shape litigation outcomes even where the underlying claims remain disputed and unresolved — and it leads to certain practical considerations for government contractors defending against state law claims that implicate national security concerns.

Read the full article.