Steven M. Masiello's practice focuses on client counseling and litigation concerning federal, state and commercial contracts, technology agreements and related regulatory matters. He represents both large and small companies across diverse industries including aerospace and defense, construction and engineering services, information technology, health care, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy.
Steve possesses extensive experience assisting clients with government contract cost accounting, cost allowability and contract estimating and pricing matters. Specifically, he advises clients on resolving audit findings and disputes arising out of the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS), cost principles in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agency regulation, circulars issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Truthful Cost or Pricing Data (f/k/a Truth in Negotiations Act (TINA)) requirements. Additionally, he handles client bid protest concerns, equitable adjustment or breach of contract claims, reverse-Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) cases, intellectual property (patents, software and data rights) matters and other contract and regulatory disputes.
Steve resolves client disputes in the state and federal courts, before the Boards of Contract Appeals and through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures. He pursues client bid protests with state and federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the courts.
Steve aids clients with the implementation of government contract compliance policies and procedures, including Department of Defense (DOD) business systems development, internal assessments and defenses against adequacy challenges to such client systems. He further conducts internal investigations and resolves allegations of contractor fraud under the False Claims Act (FCA), violations of laws or regulations, overpayments or other alleged contractor wrongdoing.
Steve is a certified management accountant (CMA) designated by the Institute of Management Accountants. Prior to joining Dentons, he served on active duty as an officer in the United States Air Force. He was first assigned to Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), where he was responsible for contractual matters related to the engineering support provided to the Air Force by its Federally ‑Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), the Aerospace Corporation. While at SMC, he also worked closely with government and industry professionals to provide contractual support for the Titan IV Launch System program. He was then assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency, where he served in the contract administration offices responsible for the administration of all DOD contracts with Boeing North American, Inc.
- Resolves government cost disallowance claims and claims asserting penalties for expressly unallowable costs, including claims relating to compensation, bonuses and incentive pay, severance, pension, independent research and development (IR&D), bid and proposal (B&P), legal and consulting costs, external restructuring and organization, depreciation, insurance and a variety of other costs.
- Counsels clients on CAS audit and compliance requirements and litigates client appeals of high-value government CAS noncompliance claims.
- Leads client internal investigations, including large-scale, enterprise-wide investigations and successful resolution of Procurement Integrity Act and Organizational Conflict of Interest issues, and complex cost accounting and overpayment civil FCA allegations arising out of a more than US$1 billion weapon system contract.
- Develops, pursues and resolves client equitable adjustments and contract breach claims, including a US$15 million claim against a subcontractor for failed launch facility construction, and a US$50 million breach of contract claim under fixed-price overseas services contracts.
- Resolves client disputes through ADR, including successful mediation of a US$8 million defective pricing and CAS 401 noncompliance dispute, a US$7 million government defective pricing claim and a US$6.5 million cost reasonableness challenge.
- Represents clients in complex multi-party civil litigation, including the successful defense of US$30 million employee claims under the Defense Base Act and state and federal law for injuries sustained in performance of federal contract overseas.
- Represents clients on various procurement protest matters, including the successful defense of a more than US$1 billion contract award for overseas defense base operations.
- Risinger v. SOC LLC: Dismissed wage and hour claims against a security services client in a matter of first impression, under US state and federal law and Iraqi law.
- American Ordnance LLC v. United States: Secured a judgment overturning a government claim of ownership of a contractor's munitions production equipment.
- ATK Launch Systems, Inc.: Obtained a finding of entitlement to breach of contract damages for the government’s failure to pay allowable indirect costs incurred for executive compensation.
- Southwest Multi-Craft Health & Welfare Trust Fund v. IAP World Services Corp.: Secured a judgment dismissing the plaintiffs’ Employee Retirement Income Security Act claims against a government contractor employer for additional fringe benefits costs.
- Matter of Shaw-Parsons Infrastructure Recovery Consultants, LLC: Sustained a protest concerning the government's failure to consider relevant past performance information in a federal procurement.
- BTI Consulting Group, 2015 BTI Client Service All-Star Award
- Co-author, "Speaking up about DOD’s proposed Independent Research and Development costs rule", Dentons Client Alert, April 12, 2016
- "Managing Intellectual Property Issues With The U.S. Government: A User's Guide," co-authored by Tyson Bareis, Briefing Papers, No. 16-3, February 2016
- "ASBCA Continues to Apply the Expressly Unallowable Cost Standard in an Unworkable Way," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer and Christopher Myers, August 6, 2015
- "ASBCA Continues to Erode Contractor Statute of Limitations Defense to Cost Claims," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Christopher Myers, June 22, 2015
- "ASBCA Suggests Actual Government Knowledge May Be Required to Trigger Statute of Limitations for Cost Claims," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Christopher Myers and Erin Sheppard, June 3, 2015
- "DCAA Issues a Delinquency List and Guidance Regarding the Assessment of Unilateral Rate Determinations for Overdue Indirect Rate Proposals," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer and Kayla Smith, March 24, 2015
- "Federal Circuit Panel States CDA Statute of Limitations Is Not Jurisdictional and Upholds Certain CAS Principles," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer, December 22, 2014
- "Statute of Limitations Decision Eliminates Clarity and Reaches the Wrong Conclusion," Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer, November 17, 2014
- “Government Contracts Team Publishes Second Edition of the MLA Government Contractor Business Systems Compliance Guide,” Dentons Client Alert, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer, October 20, 2014
- “Feature Comment: DCAA Issues Important Guidance Concerning Documentation Requirements For Consultant Costs,” co-authored by Thomas Lemmer and Tyson Bareis, The Government Contractor, February 5, 2014
- “A User’s Guide To Selling Costs: Cost Classification & Common Problems,” co-authored by Tyson Bareis, Briefing Papers No. 13-10, September 2013
- The Dentons Government Contractor Business Systems Compliance Guide, co-authored by Thomas Lemmer, James Gallagher and Kevin Slattum, January 2012
- “Feature Comment: DOD Proposes New Rules For Commercial Software And Technical Data Acquisitions,” co-authored by Tyson Bareis and William Anderson, The Government Contractor, Vol. 52 Number 43, November 17, 2010
- “BearingPoint Decision Confirms No Exclusive Means Exist for Supporting Incurred Costs,” co-authored by Arash Heidarian and Taylor Menlove, Westlaw Journal - Government Contract, Vol. 23, Issue 21, February 22, 2010
- “Feature Comment: CDA Statute of Limitations Applied to Bar the Government’s Claim in American Ordnance v. US,” co‑authored by Timothy R. Odil, The Government Contractor, Vol. 51, Number 8, February 25, 2009
- “ATK Thiokol Decision Creates a Rational Standard For Classifying Costs of R&D and Tangible Capital Assets,” co-authored by Michael L. Bell and Thomas A. Lemmer, Federal Contracts Report, Vol. 85, Number 3, January 2006
- “Protecting Confidential Information Submitted In Procurements To Colorado State Agencies,” co-authored by Jennette C. Roberts, 34 The Colorado Lawyer 67, January 2005
- “Managing Subcontract Defective Pricing Liability,” co-authored by Phillip R. Seckman, Briefing Papers No. 04-10, September 2004
- “Commercial Contract Liability,” co-authored by Michael D. Schag and Sandra B. Wick, Contract Management, Vol. 42, Issue 9, September 2002
- “Electronic Commerce Gains a Legal Foothold,” Contract Management, Vol. 40, Issue 11, November 2000
- “Penalties For Unallowable Costs,” co-authored by Thomas A. Lemmer, Briefing Papers No. 99-6, May 1999
Activities and Affiliations
Steve is a frequent speaker and panel moderator, including the following representative presentations:
- Co-presenter, "Protecting your intellectual property: a program presented by Dentons' Government Contracts team, Dentons US LLP, San Diego, CA and Palo Alto, CA, September 21-22, 2016.
- Co-presenter, "Pricing Requests for Equitable Adjustments and Pursuing Claims," Public Contracting Institute Financial Forum Webinar Series, January 12, 2016
- Presenter, "Introduction to Government Contracting," Job Corps, September 15, 2015
- Moderator, "Business Systems Compliance Panel," Public Contracting Institute DCAA Hot Topics Executive Seminar, August 18, 2015.
- Co-Presenter, "Tangible and Intangible Asset Costs," Public Contracting Institute Financial Forum Webinar Series, March 10, 2015
- Moderator, "Legal Trends Affecting DCAA Audits," American Bar Association Accounting, Cost and Pricing Committee, February 12, 2015
- Co-Presenter, "Subcontract and Material Vendor Costs," Public Contracting Institute Financial Forum Webinar Series, January 13, 2015
- Presenter, "Contractor Incurred Cost Proposals: Current Issues and Trends," American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law, April 12, 2013
- Presenter, "Managing Business System Audits, Disapprovals and Withholds," Public Contracting Institute, February 14, 2012
- Presenter, "Corporate Compliance Liability Avoidance and Mitigation," Association of Corporate Counsel, September 21, 2011
- Presenter, "Effective Procurement and Negotiation of Intellectual Property Rights and Software Licenses,," NCMA World Congress, July 11, 2011
- Co-Chair, American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section, Accounting, Cost and Pricing Committee
- Colorado Bar Association
- Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)
- Board of Advisors, National Contract Management Association (NCMA)
- California Bar
- District of Columbia Bar
- Court of Federal Claims
- Court of Appeals