14 FAH-2 H-550


(CT:COR-36;   08-03-2015)
(Office of Origin:  A/OPE)

14 FAH-2 H-551  DISPUTES

(CT:COR-36;   08-03-2015)

a. No matter how carefully a contract is negotiated and written and because of the complexities of the U.S. Government contracting process, disputes may arise.  The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 48 CFR 52.233-1 "Disputes" clause included in all U.S. Government contracts is designed to prevent disagreements between the U.S. Government and the contractor from disrupting performance under the contract.  (See FAR 48 CFR 33.000 and Department of State Acquisition Regulation (DOSAR) 48 CFR 633.203.)

b. The contracting officer has decision-making powers for resolving many contractual matters.  If agreement can be reached between the two parties (U.S. Government and contractor) with regard to equitable adjustments pursuant to contract clauses, additional reimbursement for extra work performed, or refunds required under the Inspection or other contract clause, a bilateral agreement may be negotiated.

c.  If agreement cannot be reached by the parties, these issues and other disagreements are resolved under the procedures set forth in the Disputes clause.  The Disputes clause provides, among other things, that:

(1)  The contract is subject to 41 U.S.C. 7101 through 41 U.S.C. 7109, Contract Disputes;

(2)  The contracting officer's decision is final unless the contractor appeals or files a suit as provided in 41 U.S.C 7104;

(3)  A claim by the contractor must be made in writing and submitted to the contracting officer for a written decision;

(4)  For contractor claims of $100,000 or less, the contracting officer must render a decision within 60 days; for certified claims in excess of $100,000, the contracting officer must decide the claim within 60 days or notify the contractor of the date when the decision will be made;

(5)  A claim by the U.S. Government against the contractor must be subject to a written decision by the contracting officer;

(6)  Interest on the amount found due on contractor claims is paid by the U.S. Government from:

(a)  The date the contracting officer receives the claim (certified if required); or

(b)  The date that payment otherwise would be due, if that date is later until the date of payment; and

(7)  Except as the parties may otherwise agree, pending final resolution of a claim by the contractor arising under the contract, the contractor must proceed diligently with the performance of the contract in compliance with the contracting officer's decision.

d. Because of their technical knowledge and their close involvement with a contract, contracting officer’s representatives (CORs) are usually involved in the settlement of disputes.  Their input often forms the basis of the U.S. Government’s position during the entire disputes process.  The COR’s technical insight and expertise is critical to fairness and accuracy when the contracting officer is attempting to determine the merits of the claim.

e. The authority of the contracting officer under 41 U.S.C. 7103(a)(5) does not extend to claims or disputes which by statute or regulation other agencies are expressly authorized to decide (reference 48 CFR 33.210).

f.  All claims are coordinated through the Office of the Assistant Legal Adviser for Business Affairs (L/BA).  Overseas post claims are also coordinated through A/OPE.

14 FAH-2 H-552  APPEALS

(CT:COR-36;   08-03-2015)

a. The contractor may appeal the contracting officer's final decision to the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals within 90 days of receipt of the decision, or, within 12 months of receipt of the decision, to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  If he or she fails to do this, the decision concerning a question of fact becomes final (reference FAR 48 CFR 33.211(a)(4)(v) and 41 U.S.C. 7104, "Contractor's right of appeal from decision by contracting officer").

b. The contracting officer’s representative (COR) must provide to the contracting officer, upon his or her request, any support, assistance, and documentation required for resolution of a dispute.