An interesting opinion on a motion to dismiss came out of the United States Court of Federal Claims dealing with the claim that the government breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing in administering the prime contract. The contractor’s argument was that the government breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by denying the contractor’s claim under the Contract Disputes Act (CDA). This was a creative claim and argument that deserves consideration because it tied in the contracting officer’s denial of the CDA claim for additional money with a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.
In this case, Aries Construction Corp. v. U.S., 2023 WL 2146598 (Fed. Cl. 2023), a prime contractor was hired for a water pipeline construction project. The contractor encountered unexpected difficult site conditions that required additional equipment and labor. The contractor informed the contracting officer and alleged it was instructed to proceed with the additional equipment and labor. The contractor submitted a claim under the CDA but the contracting officer denied the claim. The contractor pursued the claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims arguing the government breached the contract and, of interest, breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing.
The government moved to dismiss the breach of good faith and fair dealing claim arguing that besides failing to state a cause of action the Court of Federal Claims had no jurisdiction because the breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing was not properly presented to the contracting officer under the CDA. The Court of Federal Claims denied the government’s motion.