Jeff Eckland focuses his practice on government contracts and general commercial litigation. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts across the country, including the state courts of California, Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon, and Texas; the federal district courts of Alaska, Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee; the United States Court of Federal Claims (COFC); the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA); the National Appeals Division (NAD) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); the Courts of Appeals for the States of Minnesota and Texas; and the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, and the Federal Circuit. Jeff successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court in Franconia Associates v. United States, 536 U.S. 129 (2002), establishing that when the Government transacts business with its citizens it must do so by the same rules as everyone else and that therefore an Act of Congress can constitute a breach of contract. The Franconia Associates line of cases has resulted in aggregate settlements of over $700 Million on behalf of his government contractor clients.
Jeff has tried a variety of traditional government contract cases at the federal and state level, including bid protests, performance disputes, compliance proceedings, terminations for default (T/D) and convenience (T/C), defective pricing, qui tam, and False Claims Act litigation. In addition, he has (i) negotiated at the Pentagon stays of suspension and debarment proceedings; (ii) represented government contractors in civil and criminal environmental proceedings; and (iii) recovered increased costs for the construction of a Naval Brig at Miramar Naval Air Station (Top Gun). Jeff also counsels government contractors and their subcontractors on many transactional and compliance issues, including all phases of contract negotiation and administration, termination settlement proposals (TSPs), cost allowance, intellectual property, and technical data rights. Jeff also pursues claims against the state and federal governments, and their various agencies, for redress of grievances relating to Government abuse of power and discretion under the U.S. and State Constitutions, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
Jeff represents businesses and individuals in many other kinds of commercial disputes. His practice includes jury and court trials, appeals, prejudgment injunctions and other remedies, arbitrations and mediations, and administrative hearings. He was a member of the trial teams for the In Re Glacier Bay and Exxon Valdez oil spill litigation cases in Alaska in which he was primarily responsible for developing the evidentiary foundation for the successful fisheries price drop claim in the Glacier Bay case and the supervision of the discovery proceedings involving the Kenai river salmon sonar counters in the Exxon Valdez case. He was also involved in the maritime law aspects of both oil spill cases. He has tried patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, Lanham Act, antitrust, securities, fraud, misrepresentation, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contractual relations, RICO, employment discrimination, dealer termination, breach of contract, takings, environmental, and other types of cases.
In addition to trying cases, Jeff enjoys obtaining quick court action on behalf of clients to protect their interests. He has successfully obtained emergency injunctive relief requested by his clients in over twenty civil actions. Prior to litigation, Jeff also counsels clients about the procedural, tactical, and strategic issues involved in commencing and defending civil actions. He counsels clients on ways to avoid litigation as well as to prevent or reduce liability should litigation occur, and advises clients about the risks, benefits, and costs of litigation.
Jeff graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1979, suma cum laude, and the University of Chicago Law School in 1982. He is a member of the Public Contract Law and Science and Technology Sections of the American Bar Association (ABA). Jeff serves as a member of the State Law Database Committee, where he chairs the drafting of procurement law outlines published by the ABA for the States of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. He is a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the upcoming revision of the Model Procurement Code (MPC). He is also a Fellow of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), served on the NCMA’s Board of Advisors, and served as President of the NCMA Twin Cities Chapter from 1995-1996. He is a long-standing member of the Planning Committee for the Annual National Seminar on Government Contracts sponsored by the University of Minnesota. Jeff writes and lectures on a variety of government contract topics.