Reliable Contracting Grp., LLC v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, No. 14-1326 (Fed. Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
In 2003, the VA entered into a contract with Reliable for electrical improvements at a VA medical center, requiring installation of three backup generators, “new and of the most suitable grade.” Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.211-5, incorporated by reference, requires that supplies be “new, reconditioned, or remanufactured,” and defines “new” as “composed of previously unused components.” Reliable sub-contracted to Fisk, which contracted with DTE. In 2004, DTE delivered two Cummins Power Generation generators to the construction site. The VA’s senior resident engineer inspected the generators and determined that they were not “new.” He wrote to Reliable, stating: They show a lot of wear and tear including field burns to enlarge mounting holes. Are they new and will you certify them as such? I cannot pay you … without that certification. Fisk and Reliable initially agreed that the generators did not meet the contract specification. After investigation, they concluded that the generators, manufactured in 2000, had been previously purchased by others but never used. Fisk obtained different generators, which were accepted by the VA. In 2007, Reliable submitted a claim, seeking $1,100,000 for additional costs incurred as a result of rejection of the original generators. In 2013, the Board of Contract Appeals denied Reliable’s claim. The Federal Circuit vacated, holding that the Board erred in its interpretation of the contract.