Appealing government contract claims is commonplace when you have performed work and for some reason the contracting officer denies your claim for payment. A substantial amount of claims and disputes appealing government contract claimsarise because of technical problems at the preparation and submission stage. Even though there is no question that you performed the work, legal and procedural problems can have a grave impact on a company – large or small.

Initiation of Government Contract Claims

Contractor claims shall be submitted, in writing, to the contracting officer for a decision within 6 years after accrual of a claim, unless the contracting parties agreed to a shorter time period. This 6-year time period does not apply to contracts awarded prior to October 1, 1995. The contracting officer shall document the contract file with evidence of the date of receipt of any submission from the contractor deemed to be a claim by the contracting officer. See information about Excusable Delays and Eichleay Government Claims .

Timelines for Claims Submission

The contracting officer shall issue a written decision on any Government claim initiated against a contractor within 6 years after accrual of the claim, unless the contracting parties agreed to a shorter time period. The 6-year period shall not apply to contracts awarded prior to October 1, 1995, or to a Government claim based on a contractor claim involving fraud.

Appealing  Government Contract Claims and the Contracting Officer’s Claim Denial

When appealing government contract claims, your appeal should make the proper arguments to support your position. Sometimes it is better to include more than less.

One key element of preventing a contract dispute is to preserve your rights to appeal at the early stages.

  • Developing your government contract claim for appeal starts at the claims submission process.  
  • Submitting the basis and documentation to support your claim is essential to the contract claims appeal process.

When appealing your government contract claims denial, you cannot escape dismissal of the appeal by filing an amended complaint asserting for the first time new claims for monetary damages for breach of contract, or a contract claim for reformation of the contract and a claim for declaratory judgment. See  information on timeliness of submitting breach of contract claims and defenses.

  • The court will find the new breach and reformation claims in the proposed amended complaint will lack jurisdiction because the appeal claim will relate back to the same operative facts as the original claim.
  • State somewhere in your claim that the government has failed to comply with the terms of the contract. This is arguably tantamount to breach of contract.
  • Always remember that you must get a contracting officer’s final decision before appealing government contract claims.

Government Contract Claims Submission Issues to Consider

When deciding whether or not to file a claim against the government, you want to first decide whether any allegations for scope changes can be separated from the original statement of work. This also applies to a request for equitable adjustment.

  • Your ability to minimize a denial stems from your position as to why you work was not contemplated in the original PWS.

You should always make sure that you have amply documentation to show that the contracting officer was aware of the scope change and failed to issue a change order. Your claim should comply with the Contract Disputes Act.

Tips for Contractors

When you appeal  government contract claims and the contracting officer grants all the damages you seek in that claim, you cannot appeal the same claim on different grounds. The Board of Contract appeals will dismiss the case as moot and with prejudice. See Chapman Law Firm Co. v. Greenleaf Construction Co., 490 F.3d 934, 940 (Fed. Cir. 2007); Lasmer Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 56411, 09-1 BCA ¶ 34,115, aff’d, 360 F. App’x 118 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

  • Taking direction from the Contracting Officer’s Representative does not obligate the federal government. You should always seek approval from the contracting officer before performing additional work.
  • Claims for differing site conditions must be addressed early. Contractors should focus on keeping a written record of communications to the contracting officer.

If you received a contracting officer’s final decision and are considering appealing government contract claims, call our claims lawyers at 1-866-601-5518 for immediate help.  

If you are seeking to appeal a federal government contract claim or dispute, call contract claims and dispute lawyers at Watson & Associates, LLC at 1-866-601-5518.

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