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Recovery For Government Interference With Early Completion

Monday, May 03, 2004 01:00 pm

Recovery For Government Interference With Early Completion

An article which appeared in Construction Claims Monthly more than ten years ago cited authority for the proposition that a contractor can recover additional compensation for government interference with the contractor's scheduled early completion of the work. Project owner representatives expressed incredulity that a contractor can complete the work within the contractually stipulated performance period and still hold an owner accountable for delay. Where, they asked, are the damages?

While there is precedent, primarily in the federal forum, for this element of recovery, an examination of cases in the subsequent years indicates that a contractor will have a hard time proving its case. The basic rule is that if a contractor scheduled the work in order to achieve early completion, and that schedule was feasible, the contractor can recover additional compensation if it would have met its intended completion date but for delay or interference caused by the government. The cases show, however, that contractors have difficulty proving the intent and feasibility of early completion, as well as the cause of any delay.

The most definitive case on this issue is Weaver-Bailey Contractors, Inc. v. United States, 19 Cl.Ct. 474 (1990); CCM June 1990, p. 6. This decision in the U.S. Court of Claims (now the U.S. Court of Federal Claims) drew on a line of cases in that forum going back to 1945. The Weaver-Bailey case reiterated the rule stated above and also established that no advance notice to the government of intended early compl [...]

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