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P.J. ***, Inc. v. Principi

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

April 7, 2003, Decided

02-1290, 02-1401


 [*1367]  MICHEL, Circuit Judge.

P.J. *** Inc. ("PJD") and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs ("Secretary") each appeal different aspects of the September 27, 2001, decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals ("Board") awarding $ 1,918,262 in damages to PJD for contract delays that were the fault of the government. P.J. ***, Inc., VABCA Nos. 5597, et al., 2001-2 B.C.A. (CCH) P 31,647, 2001 VA BCA LEXIS 12 (VABCA Sept. 27, 2001). For reasons of judicial convenience the two separately filed appeals were consolidated into a single [**2]  proceeding before this court, with the Secretary's appeal treated as the cross-appeal for purposes of briefing and argument. PJD appeals the Board's denial of its claims for unabsorbed home office overhead damages. The Secretary appeals the Board's conclusion that six separate contract changes (the "combined directives") should be treated as occurring on the same date in calculating the extent of the resulting delay to contract completion. Although we affirm the Board's conclusion that PJD was not on standby, we reverse the Board's denial of PJD's claim for unabsorbed home office overhead because the Board erred in its interpretation of the parties' stipulation. Because the  [*1368]  Board also erred in analyzing six separate changes to the contract (occurring over ten months) as a single change effective on the date of the first change, we vacate the Board's determination of the number of days of delay due to those changes. We therefore vacate the Board's damages calculations and remand for recalculation in accordance with this opinion.

These appeals are related to a fixed-cost contract between the Department of Veterans Affairs ("DVA") and PJD to construct the Clinical Addition to the [**3]  DVA Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Under the contract, PJD was due to complete the work by January 12, 1998. During the contract the government issued over 400 orders changing the contract and causing various delays to different aspects of the project. These modifications increased the contract price by over five percent and caused the DVA to grant 107 days of additional contract performance time. In accepting the additional days to complete the contract, PJD reserved its right to seek additional impact and suspension costs. PJD completed the contract on September 29, 1998, 260 days after the original contract completion date and 153 days after the revised date.

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324 F.3d 1364 *; 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 6554 **

P.J. *** INCORPORATED, Appellant, v. Anthony J. Principi, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Appellee. Anthony J. Principi, SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, Appellant, v. P.J. *** INCORPORATED, Appellee.

Prior History:  [**1]  Appealed from: Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals.

Appeal of P.J. ***, Inc., 2001 VA BCA LEXIS 12 (Veterans Admin. B.C.A., Sept. 27, 2001)

Disposition: Affirmed-in-part, reversed-in-part, vacated-in-part, and remanded.


contractor, damages, standby, overhead, entitlement, home office, suspension, directives, combined, suspended, delays, billings, appeals, changes, change order, unabsorbed, government-caused, prerequisites, calculate, argues, performance of a contract, suspension of work, time period, analyzed, quantum, suspension period, resume work, contracts, duration, idleness

Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, General Overview, Civil Procedure, Appeals, De Novo Review, Public Contracts Law, Contract Interpretation, Dispute Resolution, Sanctions, Reviewability, Factual Determinations, Admiralty & Maritime Law, Maritime Contracts, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Torts, Elements, Causation, Concurrent Causation, Burden Shifting, Contract Terminations, Damages, Contract Performance, Excusable Delay, Contract Provisions, Liquidated Damages, De Novo Standard of Review, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Stipulations