Court Ruling May Mean Concession Contracts Are Subject to Contract Disputes Act

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A federal court recently held that a lease issued by the Corps of Engineers authorizing a marina concession was subject to the requirements of the Contract Disputes Act (CDA).  Based on the court’s analysis, National Park Service concession contracts may also be subject to the CDA.  If so, any monetary claim filed by a concessioner would first have to comply with the criteria which the CDA imposes, including first filing a request for a final decision with the agency and providing a certification if the claim is over $100,000.  In addition, the concessioner would be entitled to recover interest on its claim from the date the claim was filed with the agency.  Finally, the concessioner would be able to bring the claim at the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals, which is a less formal process than filing a claim at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

The CDA applies to contracts issued by the government for the disposal of personal property.  The court held that the concession lease was a contract for the disposal of personal property because the rights under the lease were contractual in nature and therefore constituted personal property.  The court also held that disposal included assigning property for a use.  Because the government gave the concessioner a right to exercise control over a marina pursuant to a contract and assigned an area for use, the court concluded that the contract was for the disposal of personal property.

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