ASBCA Decrees FAR Fixed-Sum Necessity Non-Jurisdictional: Consequences for Contract Controversies

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ASBCA’s Verdict in Favour of JE Dunn Construction Company: A Case Study

Setting a milestone in the landscape of Contract Disputes Act claims, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) announced a verdict favouring JE Dunn Construction Company in ASBCA No. 63183. The ruling interpreted stipulations related to the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s (FAR) sum-certain requirement posed before such claims as non-jurisdictional, mirroring a similar standpoint by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. According to our exclusive sources, this landmark ruling sets precedent for future claims under the Contract Disputes Act.

Identifying the Implications

This principal verdict essentially means that a delayed challenge by the government on a contractor’s adherence to the sum-certain requirement, eventually leads to forfeit of the right to challenge the same in future. Drawing from the aforementioned case, JE Dunn, a contractor, appealed against a decision that denied its claim for an extension of time and damages.

The government responded to this appeal by seeking dismissal, citing lack of jurisdiction. This was backed by their argument alleging that JE Dunn failed to provide a sum certain for every aspect of the claim. However, it was noted that this issue was only raised subsequent to a hearing on the merits.

Interpreting ASBCA’s Response and It’s Importance

The ASBCA, in its wisdom, dismissed the government’s dismissal motion, indicating that the latter had enough opportunities to present this issue earlier, but chose not to. This highlights the necessity of promptly raising defences, to avoid forfeiture, in legal battles.

Even though the sum-certain requirement is not a jurisdictional prerequisite per se, it continues to be an obligatory rule. Thus, it is advisory, especially for contractors, to ensure their claims are compliant, in order to avoid possible litigation risks.

Casting Light on the Futuristic Impact

The ruling given out in ASBCA No. 63183 is a crucial advancement, projected to influence Contract Disputes Act claims in the future. Contractors will need to continue adhering strictly to the regulations, while the government must stay alert in raising defenses to avoid rights forfeiture. This precedent-setting verdict is a reminder that litigation rules apply to all parties involved. Procrastination in raising valid concerns might result in forfeiture of rights, possibly leading to losses.

Elijah Muhammad