I have often discussed the limited circumstances under which a construction contract claim and a fraud claim can coexist. A recent case from the Western District of Virginia federal court demonstrates that care is necessary even in those limited circumstances.
In Fluor Fed. Sols., LLC v. Bae Sys. Ordinance Sys., the Court examined the question of a fraud statute of limitations under Virginia law. The basic facts found in the Complaint are these:
In 2011, the United States Army awarded BAE Systems Ordinance Systems Inc. a basic ordering agreement under which BAE was responsible for modernization projects at the Radford Army Ammunition Plant. This action stems from a subcontract between Fluor Federal Solutions LLC and BAE, under which Fluor agreed to design and construct a new natural gas boiler at the plant. Fluor has completed work on the project, and BAE has accepted that work. Nonetheless, Fluor claims that BAE has refused or failed to pay for the balance of the project costs. Fluor alleges that BAE received several changes to its prime contract from the Army but did not pass those changes along to Fluor until after BAE solicited a bid from Fluor and entered a contract with Fluor to build a temporary facility. Instead, BAE continued to misrepresent the scope of the project. Fluor alleges that the change in plans increased costs substantially, but that BAE withheld information about those changes so that it could solicit lower bids. Fluor alleges that it requested a copy of BAE’s prime contract on numerous occasions, but BAE failed to provide a copy of it. Instead, Fluor submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act. It received a copy of BAE’s prime contract on Oct. 3, 2018.