The George Hyman Construction Company, Plaintiff-appellant, v. the United States, Defendant-appellee, 39 F.3d 1197 (Fed. Cir. 1994)

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U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit - 39 F.3d 1197 (Fed. Cir. 1994) Oct. 17, 1994

Before RICH, CLEVENGER, and SCHALL, Circuit Judges.

SCHALL, Circuit Judge.


The George Hyman Construction Company (Hyman) appeals from the judgment of the United States Court of Federal Claims dismissing Hyman's complaint. The court dismissed Hyman's complaint on the ground that Hyman's claim against the United States was barred by the Severin Doctrine ( Severin v. United States, 99 Ct. Cl. 435 (1943), cert. denied, 322 U.S. 733 (1944)). George Hyman Constr. Co. v. United States, 30 Fed. Cl. 170 (1993). We affirm on the basis of the decision below.


We agree with the Court of Federal Claims (i) that Hyman's subcontractor, by way of a general release, released Hyman from all claims by the subcontractor relating to the project at issue; (ii) that the language of the release was clear on its face; and (iii) that the court could not have altered the release's clear effect and meaning without engaging in contract reformation which, as both parties concede, it lacked jurisdiction to do.