Disclosure of Assignment Unnecessary for Valid CDA claim

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed and remanded the dismissal of an appeal because a claim letter submitted to the contracting officer was a valid claim under the Contract Disputes Act. The contractor’s letter asserted the government breached modifications of a delivery order for lease and support of network monitoring software. In granting the government’s motion to dismiss, the Court of Federal Claims determined the letter was not a valid CDA claim. According to the CFC, the letter’s failure to disclose the contractor’s third-party financing arrangement deprived the CO of adequate notice of the claim by failing to alert the CO to the potential application of the Anti-Assignment Act, the Severin doctrine, and a “host of other issues that have been associated with sponsored or ‘pass-through’ claims” ( 55 CCF ¶79,606).

Clear and Unequivocal

The Federal Circuit determined the claim letter was a “clear and unequivocal statement” that gave the CO adequate notice of the basis for the alleged breach and satisfied the requirements for a CDA claim. The letter contained clear allegations of the government’s breach of particular contractual provisions, demanded a specific amount in damages, was accompanied by the required certification, and stated a clear request for a final decision and relief. Moreover, as the CFC correctly found, the contractor was the proper party to bring the breach claim, even though its failure to notify the government of the assignment rendered the assignment null and void against the government by operation of the Anti-Assignment Act. Thus, the contractor did not assert a pass-through claim, the Severin doctrine did not apply, and the contractor did not fail to give the CO adequate notice for the basis of its claim by omitting financing information. ( Northrop Grumman Computing Systems, Inc. v. U.S., CA-FC, 57 CCF ¶80,004)