Metcalf Const. Co., LLC v. United States, No. 13-5041 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In 2002, the Navy awarded Metcalf a contract to design and build 212 housing units in Hawaii by October, 2006, for $50 million. Problems arose involving soil conditions. The request for proposals stated that the “soil reconnaissance report” was “for preliminary information only” and required that the contractor conduct independent soil investigation, incorporating 48 C.F.R. 52.236-2, concerning site conditions that differ materially from those disclosed. Discussions delayed construction for a year. Metcalf implemented its preferred changes by over-excavating and using non-expansive fill, without a contract modification. The Navy denied that there was any material difference between pre-bid and post-award soil assessments, but approved some modifications. Metcalf was about 200 days behind schedule and began using “post-tension” concrete, which was more expensive but avoided the additional time and cost of over-excavation. The Navy amended the contract to approve use of post-tension concrete slabs. Metcalf claims additional delays resulting from the presence of more of a chemical contaminant than was expected. With respect to contamination, the Navy granted a 286-day extension and reimbursed $1,493,103. The Navy accepted the buildings in March, 2007. Metcalf alleged that its final cost was $76 million. The government paid less than $50 million. The Claims Court ruled in favor of the government, under the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. 7104. The Federal Circuit vacated, holding that the court misconstrued what Metcalf needed to show to prove that the government breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing and misinterpreted certain contractual provisions.