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Overlapping Claims Met Sum Certain Requirement



A motion to dismiss appeals for failure to state a sum certain was denied by the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, notwithstanding the overlap between the underlying claims, because each claim sought a specific dollar amount. The government moved to dismiss four claims arising from denials of requests for equitable adjustment under a contact for logistic modernization program services. In a fifth claim, the contractor had included a credit for payments received from the government, but it did not allocate the payments among the four other claims. To justify the denial of the four claims, the contracting officer stated he could not calculate the portion of the credit attributable to each of the four claims and therefore could not subtract the amounts paid from the amounts claimed to calculate the "sum certain" claimed by the contractor.

Common-Sense Analysis


According to the government, since the CO could not "sort out" how to allocate the payment credit among the various claims, the claims did not meet the Contract Disputes Act's jurisdictional requirement to state a "sum certain." The board applied a "common-sense analysis" and found each of the four claims sought a specific dollar amount. Therefore, each claim on its face demanded a sum certain. Further, "[t]he jurisdictional validity of a claim is determined at the time of submission to the [CO] and the accuracy of the sum certain amount claimed goes to the merits of the claim, not to its validity as a claim," so the overlap between the claims was insufficient to deprive the board of jurisdiction. The CO's inability to allocate the credit among the various claims was a matter relating to proof of quantum, not a matter of board jurisdiction. (Computer Sciences Corp., ASBCA, 93,006)





































 






 

 

(The news featured above is a selection from the news covered in the Government Contracts Report Letter, which is published weekly and distributed to subscribers of the Government Contracts Reporter. )

     
  
 

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