Earlier this week, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) released its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 report. The CBCA docketed 418 new matters in FY 2019, which represents a modest increase from the 409 docketed in FY 2018. Prior to FY 2018, the CBCA had experienced docket decreases for each of the previous three years. For only the second time since FY 2014, however, the number of new cases docketed during the year exceeded the number of appeals the CBCA resolved. This latter statistic indicates that matters may proceed more slowly during 2020.
The slight docket increase is attributable in part to a change in the methodology the CBCA uses in compiling data. In its FY 2018 report, the CBCA did not count ADR proceedings (75) in its reported docket. By contrast, the FY 2019 report includes the 59 pending ADR proceedings in its docket. An uptick in FEMA arbitrations also appears to contribute to the docket increase.
The report notes the CBCA is inching closer to paperless proceedings. Approximately 96% of FY 2019 filings were submitted electronically. This represents a slight increase from 2018 (93%) and 2017 (89%).
As the FY 2019 report underscores, the CBCA helps parties realize cost savings through travel and ADR. The CBCA reported that its judges traveled to six hearings and 20 ADRs in FY 2019, comprising more than 90 travel days. Accordingly, as you embark on CBCA matters in 2020, ask your counsel to inquire into ADR, where ADR might be conducted, and where the parties might resolve a hearing on the merits.
We will keep you posted on 2020 events.