The opinion of the court was delivered by: Urbina, District Judge
DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
This matter comes before the court on the plaintiff's motion for a
preliminary injunction. In its motion, the law firm of LeBoeuf, Lamb,
Greene & MacRae, L.L.P. ("LeBoeuf" or "the plaintiff"), claims that
the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE" or "the defendant"), is forbidding
its contractors from retaining the plaintiff in connection with DOE
contracts, thereby subjecting LeBoeuf to "defacto debarment" without
notice or an opportunity to be heard. As a result, LeBoeuf seeks an
injunction to stop this alleged debarment.
The plaintiff, however, followed improper procedures in pursuing its
motion for injunctive relief. Rather than filing a complaint to begin
this action, LeBoeuf filed its motion under an already existing civil
action that it had initiated against DOE on March 27, 2000. The previous
action pertains to a different contract dispute.
Because the plaintiff failed to file a complaint in this action, the
court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiff's motion. The court
notes that even if LeBoeuf had initiated this action by a complaint
accompanying its application for injunctive relief, LeBoeuf would still
fail to prevail on its preliminary-injunction claim. Accordingly, the
court denies the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction.
The underlying action involves LeBoeufs challenge to DOE's decision to
award a contract to the law firm of Winston & Strawn ("Winston"), the
intervenor-defendant, rather than to LeBoeuf. DOE's decision stems from a
Request for Proposals and Solicitation that DOE issued on May 27, 1999.
See First Am.Compl. ¶ 26. This request stated that DOE was seeking
"professional legal advice and assistance to DOE's Office of General
Counsel, involving legal matters related to the licensing activities of
DOE's OCRWM [Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management] for Yucca
Mountain," (the "Yucca Mountain contract"). Id. After receiving bids from
LeBoeuf, Winston, and others, DOE decided to award the contract to
Winston. See id. ¶ 36. DOE explained to LeBoeuf that although LeBoeuf
and Winston had equal scores, DOE awarded the contract to Winston because
Winston submitted the lowest bid. Id. As a result, on March 27, 2000,
LeBoeuf filed a complaint against DOE in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Nevada. The District of Nevada transferred the case to this
court on January 3, 2001.
In contrast to the underlying dispute over the Yucca Mountain
contract, the present dispute involves a contract for legal services with
West Valley Nuclear Services Company ("West Valley"), a different DOE
contractor. This dispute originated on June 7, 2001, with Michael
McBride, a partner at LeBoeuf. See Second McBride Aff. at 4. Mr. McBride
learned that West Valley was interested in retaining LeBoeuf for work
related to a DOE radioactive waste cleanup contract. See id. This
contract for legal services (the "West Valley contract") required
approval by DOE. See id. According to the plaintiff, DOE refused to
approve West Valley's retention of LeBoeuf solely because of LeBoeuf's
pending lawsuit against DOE. See Pl's Mot. at 1.
The plaintiff bases this conclusion on the following facts: On June 7,
2001, Mr. McBride sent a letter to West Valley's legal counsel setting
forth LeBoeuf's qualifications, billing rates, and a summary of LeBoeuf's
lawsuit against DOE regarding the Yucca Mountain contract. See Second
McBride Aff., Ex. A. A few days later, West Valley informed Mr. McBride
that it intended to hire LeBoeuf, subject to a few terms and DOE's
approval. See id. On June 13 and 15, 2001, representatives from West
Valley told John Lawrence, a senior counsel at LeBoeuf, that DOE was
reviewing the possible "issue" posed by LeBoeuf's litigation with DOE.
See Lawrence Aff. at 3-4. Later on June 15, 2001, Mr. Lawrence received a
call from West Valley's legal counsel who, according to Mr. Lawrence,*fn1
explained that "DOE had reached its final decision regarding [LeBoeuf's]
disclosure, and . . . the decision was made by DOE not to authorize West
Valley to engage our services." Id. at 4. According to Mr. McBride,
LeBoeuf partner, Brian O'Neill, left two messages with DOE's general
counsel, but the general counsel did not return the calls. See Second
McBride Aff. at 8.
Subsequently, on June 21, 2001, West
Valley retained a law firm*fn2 other than the plaintiff for the West
Valley contract. See Third McBride Aff. at 2; Order Denying T.R.O., June
22, 2001 (Hogan, C.J., as Motions Judge) ("Order") at 2.
Anticipating future injury, Mr. McBride argues that many of his former
clients will also need DOE approval if they wish to retain LeBoeuf in the
future. See Third McBride Aff. at 3. Mr. McBride contends that DOE's
"decision to retaliate against LeBoeuf for bringing this civil action"
will hinder LeBoeuf's transportation-law practice. See Third McBride
Aff. at 3. Finally, Mr. McBride also states that DOE's action is harming
his reputation and stigmatizing him and LeBoeuf. See id. at 3-4.
In the underlying lawsuit, the plaintiff filed a complaint on March
27, 2000, and then a first amended complaint on February 6, 2001. The
plaintiff alleges that the defendant acted in an arbitrary, capricious,
and illegal manner by awarding the Yucca Mountain contract to the law
firm of Winston & Strawn. See First Am.Compl. ¶¶ 58-84. In the
first amended complaint, LeBoeuf explains that Winston's representation
of two DOE contractors created ...