The Contract Disputes Act (CDA) governs monetary and non-monetary disputes arising out of contracts or implied-in-fact contracts between the federal government and contractors. Because the CDA is an exclusive remedy, it is important that contractors be wary of the many pitfalls that may be encountered by a contractor seeking to assert a claim against the government under the CDA.
The pitfalls faced by a contractor under the CDA can arise before a contractor becomes aware of a potential claim. Pursuant to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) § 43.204(c), a contracting officer should include in any supplemental agreement, including any change order, a Contractor’s Statement of Release which requires a contractor to execute a broad release of the government from any and all liability under the contract. As a result of this FAR provision, in executing a routine change order, a contractor may inadvertently release its right to pursue a potential claim under the CDA. A contractor should always review any release language prior to executing a supplemental agreement or change order with the government.