Your newly awarded government contract requires you to move significant amounts of equipment prior to receiving a Notice to Proceed (NTP). You spend thousands of dollars moving equipment and people into place so you are ready to perform once the NTP is issued. But what if instead of issuing the NTP the agency cancels your contract? Are you out all of the costs incurred to prepare for the NTP?
Not necessarily. The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals recently reviewed just this situation and awarded a significant amount to the contractor.
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.