Release of Claims Can’t Be Undone by Refusing Government Payment

I recall sitting in a mediation one day when the mediator, a judge, told me and my client that we all have lightning in our fingers. He went on to explain that this means, once you sign a contract, it’s like magic in the sense that you can’t get out of the contract and are bound by it, absent certain exceptional circumstances.

I was reminded of this concept while reading a recent opinion from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals that dealt with the effect of a contractor signing a release with the government and then trying to back out of that release by refusing payment from the government.

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Court: “Long Term” Contract Did Not Guarantee Option Years

The government was not required to exercise option years in a “long term” contract to lease aircraft, according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In Sundowner 102 LLC v. United States, No. 12-304C (2013), the Court held that the use of the words “long term” in a contract did not limit the government’s discretion to decline to exercise option years.

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