Vandeventer Black LLP: Subcontractor's Quantum Meruit Claim Irreconcilable With Breach of Contract Claim

Vandeventer Black LLP: Subcontractor's Quantum Meruit Claim Irreconcilable With Breach of Contract Claim

EDVA Dismisses Quantum Meruit Claim as Irreconcilable With Breach of Contract Claim and Also Dismisses Claimed Private Right of Action to Enforce Alleged FAR Violation

By Neil Lowenstein

Judge Turk, Senior District Judge for the United States District of Virginia, Roanoke Division, issued a recent opinion in Suleyman Civiv v. UXB International, Inc., Civil Action No. 7:12-cv-290 [enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers] dismissing the plaintiff subcontractor's claim against the defendant prime contractor on a federal project that the prime contractor was liable under a quantum meruit (or implied contract) theory and the claim that the prime contractor was liable to the subcontractor for having violated the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).  

Respecting the quantum meruit claim, the court noted that the subcontractor had pled a valid and binding express contract, and that the prime contractor had acknowledged that express contract as part of its motion.  Because the parties were in accord that they remained in a contractual relationship at all relevant times, the court held there was no basis for implying a contract, and so dismissed the quantum meruit claim.

Respecting the FAR violation claim, the court noted that the FAR does not provide for a private cause of action, and that it was therefore clear that a violation of the FAR, standing alone, could not give rise to a private cause of action.  Because of this the court also dismissed the FAR violation claim.  Of note, this same rationale would seem to apply to similar type claims, such as allegation of breach of the Federal Prompt Payment Act (a seemingly increasingly popular subcontractor assertion) - as the Magistrate Judge Prince ruled in an earlier EDVA action; it is will be interesting to see how Judge Turk's rationale is applied for future cases. 

View more from Virginia Construction Law News and Notes. 

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