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Civilian Board of Contract Appeals

April 22, 2020

CBCA 5683


SOMERS, Board Judge.

Appellant, Pernix Serka Joint Venture (PSJV), faced with concerns about performing a contract in Freetown, Sierra Leone, during an Ebola virus disease (Ebola) outbreak, sought guidance from the Department of State (DOS) contracting officer as to how to respond. DOS provided no guidance, stating that PSJV would need to make its own decisions about the process for completing contract performance under such conditions. PSJV temporarily demobilized, later returning to the site having contracted for additional medical services for its employees. After contract completion, PSJV requested an equitable adjustment for costs incurred. DOS moves for summary judgment on the grounds that the risk of performance in this firm, fixed-price contract remained with PSJV PSJV has identified [*2]  no genuine issues of material fact, and DOS is entitled to prevail as a matter of law. After considering the motion, opposition, and reply, we grant DOS's motion and deny the appeal.

Statement of Facts

In September 2013, DOS awarded a firm, fixed-price contract in the amount of $ 10,864,047 to PSJV. The contract required PSJV to construct a rainwater capture and storage system in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The initial price included all labor, materials, equipment, and services necessary to complete the project. In addition to the fixed-price sum, the contract limited additional reimbursement for value added taxes, not to exceed $ 1,626,195. The contract included a clause entitled "Excusable Delays," which stated:

F.8.1 The Contractor will be allowed time, not money, for excusable delays as defined in FAR 52.249-10, Default (see Section/Paragraph I.153). Examples of such cases include (1) acts of God or of the public enemy; (2) acts of the United States Government in either its sovereign or contractual capacity; (3) acts of the government of the host country in its sovereign capacity; (4) acts of another contractor in the performance of a contract with the Government; (5) fires; (6) floods; (7) epidemics; [*3]  (8) quarantine restrictions; (9) strikes; (10) freight embargoes; and (11) unusually severe weather.

F.8.2 In each instance, the failure to perform must be beyond the contract and without the fault or negligence of the Contractor, and the failure to perform furthermore (1) must be one that the Contractor could not have reasonably anticipated and taken adequate measures to protect against, (2) cannot be overcome by reasonable efforts to reschedule the work, and (3) directly and materially affects the date of final completion of the project.

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2020 CIVBCA LEXIS 78 *



contractor, outbreak, costs, contracting, site, personnel, cardinal, conditions, remobilization, summary judgment, fixed-price, project site, demobilize, measures, planned, virus