Lumbermens Mut. Cas. Co. v. United States, No. 10-5086 (Fed. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
A contractor, renovating military housing, obtained a performance bond under the Miller Act (40 U.S.C. 3131 (b)) and abandoned the project after completing 12 percent of the work. The government had paid 40 percent of the contract price. The surety contracted for completion, but the second contractor discovered code violations and incurred penalties for late completion. Costs were reimbursed by the surety, which filed suit under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491. The Federal Circuit held that the Claims Court lacked jurisdiction. The court previously held that the Claims Court has jurisdiction under the Act over sureties' claims based on a theory of equitable subrogation; this case does not involve equitable subrogation because the government made payments at issue before receiving notice of the contractor's default. The waiver of sovereign immunity under the Act does not extend to impairment of suretyship claims apart from the theory of equitable subrogation. The Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 601, applies to a surety's claim against the government arising from a takeover agreement between the government and surety for completion of a bonded contract following the principal obligor’s default; the surety failed to satisfy CDA jurisdictional prerequisites.