Will Your Next Contract Disputes Act Claim be Thrown Out in a CBCA Appeal?
Even as late as 2016, government contractors are still making costly mistakes when preparing and submitting contract claims against the government. Making sure that your claim contains the right information, and the required certification and gives the contracting officer reasonable notice of what you want and why, is ciritical to filing a Contract Disputes Act claim.
The last thing you need to happen is that when filing an appeal, your case gets dismissed based on the technicality of not meeting the legal requirements for a Contract Disputes Act Claim. The result is that thousands or millions of dollars in legitimate invoices have gone to shreds.
In a recent 2016 Case, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) dismissed a contract disputes appeal simply because it did not have the required legal jurisdiction to hear the case.
Preparing a Contract Disputes Act Claim Correctly Can Save Thousands
The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals can only hear contracts disputes related to the contract. You must be a party to the contract and have a legally sufficient contracting officer’s final decision. All of these subtle requirements are often missed by government contractors.
You must first meet the legal requirements of a government contract claim: The Contract Disputes Act is the bedrock for preparing and submitting claims against the federal government. There are certain requirements that you must meet.
- Despite the fact that you actually completed the work, the contracting officer still can deny your claim.
- Contractors usually find out the true reason for the denial when they file a lawsuit.
- The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals cannot waive the requirements of the Contract Disputes Act
What Does the CBCA Look for in a Government Claim During an Appeal?
The CBCA looks to see whether you initially met the CDA certification requirements when you submitted your claim for a contracting officer’s final decision. Courts look to the FAR for the definition of a “claim” but even the language is vague. There is no mandatory language. This is where government contractors find great difficulty. The FAR defines a “claim” as “a written demand or written assertion by one of the contracting parties seeking, as a matter of right, the payment of money in sum certain, the adjustment or interpretation of contract terms, or other relief arising under or relating to the contract.” 48 CFR 52.233-1(c).
- The CBCA looks at your claim to make sure that it contains a clear and unequivocal statement that gives the contracting officer adequate notice of the underlying basis and amount of the claim.
- Each claim is looked at on a case-by-case basis
The CBCA also looks to make sure it has subject matter jurisdiction to hear the appeal. For example, if the initial claim to the contracting officer does not meet the requirements of the Contract Disputes Act, then the CBCA may decline to hear the case for lack of jurisdicition.
Are All Contract Disputes Act Claims Rejected?
Not all claims against the government are rejected by the contracting officer. Companies that have cases dismissed on appeal to the CBA are not always new to government contracting. Can you submit a legally sufficient Contract Disputes Act Claim without hiring an attorney? Not all Contract Disputes Act claims are invalid. Many companies do not have legal disputes about meeting the CDA claims requirements.
In the above case, the contractor lost out on $71,592.96 simply because the initial claim was legally defective. There is another case whether the company lost out on $967,989.42 due to lack of the Court’s jurisdiction.
To make sure that your next Contract Disputes Act Claim meets the legal requirements, and to preserve your rights to appeal, call our government contract disputes lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.
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