Contract Void Ab Initio: Key Insights into the KBR vs. Corps of Engineers Affirmative Defense

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This Board decision sheds light on the complexity of legal issues in government contracts, particularly when affirmative defenses such as material misrepresentation are introduced.

February 12, 2024
Matthew DeVries - Best Practices Construction Law

In a recent Board decision dated December 13, 2023, the United States Army Corps of Engineers sought to amend its answer in the case of APPEALS OF – KELLOGG BROWN & ROOT SERVICES, INC., under Contract No. W912GB-13-C-0011. The proposed amendment introduces an affirmative defense, contending that Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. (KBR) made material misrepresentations in its proposal, rendering the fully-performed contract void ab initio.

Background: The contract in question, executed on July 9, 2013, was for the construction of an Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System site in Deveselu, Romania, with a firm, fixed-price amount of $134,211,592. The Corps moved to amend its answer to allege that KBR’s material misrepresentations induced the Corps to enter the contract, justifying the voiding of the contract. The alleged misrepresentations include issues related to subcontractor quotes, firm fixed prices, subcontracting plans, and more.

Motion to Amend and Legal Defense: The Corps, despite delays in formally amending its answer, argued that KBR was aware of the potential affirmative defense before the conclusion of fact discovery. The proposed affirmative defense asserts that KBR made eight material misrepresentations in its proposal, upon which the Corps relied in awarding the contract and defending against a GAO protest.

Mr. DeVries may be contacted at


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