Morrison-Knudsen Company v. United States, No. 239-61.

CourtCourt of Federal Claims
Writing for the CourtCOWEN, , and LARAMORE, DURFEE, DAVIS and COLLINS
Citation170 Ct. Cl. 757,345 F.2d 833
PartiesMORRISON-KNUDSEN COMPANY, Inc., a Corporation v. The UNITED STATES.
Docket NumberNo. 239-61.
Decision Date14 May 1965

170 Ct. Cl. 757, 345 F.2d 833 (1965)

MORRISON-KNUDSEN COMPANY, Inc., a Corporation
v.
The UNITED STATES.

No. 239-61.

United States Court of Claims.

May 14, 1965.


345 F.2d 834

John W. Gaskins, Washington, D. C., for plaintiff. John A. McWhorter, Paul E. McNulty, and King & King, Washington, D. C., of counsel.

Irving Jaffe, Washington, D. C., with whom was Asst. Atty. Gen. John W. Douglas, for defendant. Thomas J. Lydon and Richard R. Molleur, Washington, D. C., were on the briefs.

Before COWEN, Chief Judge, and LARAMORE, DURFEE, DAVIS and COLLINS, Judges.

COWEN, Chief Judge.

This is a suit upon a contract entered into by plaintiff and the Alaska Road Commission of the Department of the Interior, for the grading and drainage of a section of the Richardson Highway, in the State (then Territory) of Alaska. The contract was signed in April 1953, and performance was completed in the spring of 1955, within the term of the contract as extended.

The contract was in the estimated total amount of $2,083,853, and payments were predicated upon the number of units of service or material actually employed by the contractor on the job. The following are taken from the contract schedule of pay items as illustrative:

 Pay names, with Unit
                 Estimated unit bid, price Bid Amount
                 Item Quantity written in words Price Bid
                 26(1) 742,000 Cu. Yds. Unclassified 0.73 541,660.00
                 Excavation for Borrow
                 at Seventy-three Cents
                 per cu. yd
                 27(2) 574,000 Sta. Yds. Overhaul 0.03 17,220.00
                 (1000' free haul), at
                 Three Cents per sta. yd
                 * * *
                 100(1) 175,000 Cu. Yds. Selected Borrow
                 Surface Course, at
                 One and 20/100 Dollars
                 per cu. yd. 1.20 210,000.00
                

The contract incorporated by reference Specifications F.P.-41, which to some extent varied the standard Changed Conditions clause and to a lesser extent, the

345 F.2d 835
standard Changes clause. The latter clause1 for the purposes of this opinion is treated as if atypical.

The claims set forth in the petition include the following:

1. A claim under the Changes or Changed Conditions clauses, arising as a result of the relocation of borrow pits.

This claim is not before us at this stage of the proceedings.

2. A claim for the increased cost of finishing the subgrade.

In this claim, plaintiff seeks an equitable adjustment under the Changes clause or damages for breach of contract. The claim arises out of and is directly related to the deletion from the contract of pay item 100(1), which called for the placement on the subgrade of a 6-inch layer of selected borrow surface course composed of fine material. Plaintiff contends that defendant compelled it to use borrow material containing rocks over 6 inches in diameter (unsuitable for use in the subgrade) by refusing to authorize payment for the overhaul of suitable material from more remote borrow pits and at the same time required plaintiff to complete the subgrade to lines and grades without reasonable tolerances and in such a manner that the subgrade would accommodate traffic moving at the rate of 50 miles per hour. Plaintiff says that its unit costs were substantially increased as a result of the deletion and the additional requirements imposed upon it by defendant.

3. Claim for increased costs resulting from the shutdown for the winter of 1954-1955.

Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of the disorganization of its operations and the difficulties caused by the relocation of the borrow pits (claim 1), plus the additional work defendant required plaintiff to perform in the construction of the subgrade (claim 2), the completion of the contract was delayed into the year 1955 to plaintiff's damage.

All of plaintiff's claims in issue here were presented to the contracting officer, and after his adverse decision, were appealed to the Interior Department Board of Contract Appeals, hereinafter referred to as "IBCA". The IBCA considered claim (1) as IBCA-50, and claims (2) and (3) as IBCA-36. Both board actions were consolidated for hearing and a combined decision was issued on May 27, 1957. In its decision, the board made detailed findings of fact (in narrative form) and also made important and crucial interpretations of the contract provisions. Some relief was granted plaintiff on claims (1) and (2). Notwithstanding its holding that it had no jurisdiction of the claim for delay incident to the shutdown in the winter, the board also made factual findings on that claim. In an opinion dated March 23, 1959, the IBCA reviewed in detail its previous decision, considered new arguments, and denied the motion for reconsideration.

345 F.2d 836

During the course of pretrial proceedings in this court, the Trial Commissioner issued an order which provided in pertinent part as follows:

"(2) Subject to further order of the court, the evidence hereafter considered in this case shall be limited to the administrative record, except evidence, material to the following issues:
"(a) An alleged breach of contract by the defendant in failing to authorize payment of overhaul involved in the use of 6 inch minus material in the top 12 inches of the subgrade, in deleting the selected borrow surface course, and in insisting that the subgrade be brought to a condition that would accommodate 50 mile-per-hour traffic, and the amount of damages due for any such alleged breach.
"(b) Increased costs of shutdown for the winter of 1954-55."

Defendant has asked us to review that portion of the Trial Commissioner's order which is...

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53 practice notes
  • Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, No. 568-77.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • March 21, 1979
    ...be avoided by couching an administratively redressable claim as a claim for breach of contract. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 70 Ct.Cl. 757 (1965); L. W. Foster Sportswear Co. v. United States, 405 F.2d 1285, 86 Ct.Cl. 499...
  • JL Simmons Company v. United States, No. 186-59.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • July 16, 1969
    ...specifications which establishes a predicate for a breach of the government\'s implied warranty. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 170 Ct.Cl. 712, decided May 14, 1965. 347 F.2d at 241, 244, 171 Ct.Cl. at 76-77, Applying that holding to this case, the Board opinion contin......
  • In Re Convertible Rowing Exerciser Patent Lit., Misc. No. 85-14. MDL Docket No. 623.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • February 1, 1993
    ...and this Court and must be resolved to the same extent in both. Finally, in the portion of Morrison-Knudson Co. Inc. v. United States, 170 Ct.Cl. 757, 345 F.2d 833, 888 (Ct.Cl.1965) relevant here, that court determined that the administrative body's findings of fact on an issue over which i......
  • Morrison-Knudsen Company v. United States, No. 239-61.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • June 14, 1968
    ...in this case that such findings were gratuitous and did not preclude a trial de novo on the merits. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 838, 170 Ct.Cl. 757, 764 (1965). See also United States v. Utah Construction & Min. Co., 384 U.S. 394, 403-418, 86 S.Ct. 1545, 16 L.Ed.2d ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
53 cases
  • Hoopa Valley Tribe v. United States, No. 568-77.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • March 21, 1979
    ...be avoided by couching an administratively redressable claim as a claim for breach of contract. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 70 Ct.Cl. 757 (1965); L. W. Foster Sportswear Co. v. United States, 405 F.2d 1285, 86 Ct.Cl. 499...
  • JL Simmons Company v. United States, No. 186-59.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • July 16, 1969
    ...specifications which establishes a predicate for a breach of the government\'s implied warranty. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 170 Ct.Cl. 712, decided May 14, 1965. 347 F.2d at 241, 244, 171 Ct.Cl. at 76-77, Applying that holding to this case, the Board opinion contin......
  • In Re Convertible Rowing Exerciser Patent Lit., Misc. No. 85-14. MDL Docket No. 623.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • February 1, 1993
    ...and this Court and must be resolved to the same extent in both. Finally, in the portion of Morrison-Knudson Co. Inc. v. United States, 170 Ct.Cl. 757, 345 F.2d 833, 888 (Ct.Cl.1965) relevant here, that court determined that the administrative body's findings of fact on an issue over which i......
  • Morrison-Knudsen Company v. United States, No. 239-61.
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • June 14, 1968
    ...in this case that such findings were gratuitous and did not preclude a trial de novo on the merits. Morrison-Knudsen Co. v. United States, 345 F.2d 833, 838, 170 Ct.Cl. 757, 764 (1965). See also United States v. Utah Construction & Min. Co., 384 U.S. 394, 403-418, 86 S.Ct. 1545, 16 L.Ed......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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