U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS The Appeal of PROFESSIONAL PRINTING CENTER, INC. Docket No. GPO BCA 12-87 July 7, 1989 MICHAEL F. DiMARIO Administrative Law Judge OPINION This appeal, timely filed by Professional Printing Center, Inc., 627 Graham, Emporia, KS 66801 (Appellant), is from the March 13, 1987, final decision of Rolf A. Beike, Contracting Officer (CO), St. Louis Regional Printing Procurement Office, United States Government Printing Office (Respondent), rejecting certain work and requiring its reprinting by Appellant at no additional cost to the Government because misstated quantity counts on mailing labels generated by Appellant had caused an improper distribution to be effected. The appeal is denied and the decision of the CO is affirmed for the reasons set forth hereinbelow. BACKGROUND Respondent, by Purchase Order J-1287 dated January 1, 1987, awarded Appellant a 1-year requirements contract identified as Jacket 754-116, Program 1699-S, to produce and distribute, by first class mail in accordance with U.S. Postal Service Domestic and Foreign Mail regulations, such orders of two certain Department of the Air Force publications as might be required and requisitioned from time to time during the term. Appellant was to generate mailing labels for one of the publications, "Appendix 1 to Annex C to MAC OPORD 17-76" (Appendix 1), from address data stored on "floppy disc(s)" to be furnished by the Government. Each label so generated was to contain a copy distribution entry which Appellant was to follow in effecting distribution. Each specific order was to be originated by issuance of a "Print Order" to Appellant for the work required to be performed. Print Order 60001 for production and distribution of 692 copies of Appendix 1 was issued to Appellant on February 4, 1987. Thereafter, production and distribution occurred. However, on February 17, 1987, Respondent advised Appellant that the Air Force complained that the distribution was incorrectly performed. Copy count data, which was to accompany an address as the last data entry before perforations separating one label from another, in fact appeared as the first entry on the next label following the perforations, etc. Accordingly, the order was being partially rejected and Appellant was being directed to correct the error at no additional expense to the Government. (Rule 4 File, hereinafter "R4 File," Tab C.) Appellant responded by letter of February 26, 1987, consenting to reprint and distribute the product but demanding payment for such work, as well as for the rejected work, inasmuch as it allegedly received "[n]o instruction, clear or unclear, where No. of copies goes in contract specifications, print order, instruction sheet, computer program, or even the test label itself." (R4 File, Tab E.) As a consequence: In reading the computer screen, and by lining up the label where it should go (both logically and as a matter of everyday standard operation), We ran the labels off using common sense, logic, common & standard operation procedure. . . . . We mailed according to "Domestic Mail" regulations, and to mail with copies at the bottom would be to do the opposite of the manuals [sic] regulation that states in numerous places that "The zip code may be carried as the bottom line of the address, provided it is immediately beneath the city and state and no character or digits precede or follow it." R4 File, Tab E. Appellant attached a photocopy of the test label annotated by it, as well as copies of "U.S. Postal Services' Domestic Mail Manual" (Issue 21 dated September 4, 1986), pages 122.37, 122.632, and 122.633, to support its allegations. (R4 File, Tab E.) In turn, the CO responded by "final decision" letter of March 13, 1987, dismissing Appellant's claim that it followed standard operating procedures by stating: "Logically, the test preceding the mailing labels would not result in one incomplete label, one complete label, and then stop in the middle of another label, but rather would consist of two complete labels with the perforation placed after the 'copies' line." (R4 File, Tab F.) Moreover, the CO claimed that the postal regulations relied upon by Appellant were not applicable "here since they dealt with letter-size mail processed for OCR [Optical Character Recognition]." and that "Paragraph 122.642 of the DMM does not prohibit additional information from being printed below the ZIP code. The limitation '... no characters or digits precede or follow it' addresses itself to information carried on the same line; to interpret this any other way means that the address itself could not be printed either, because it 'precedes' the ZIP code." (R4 File, Tab F.) Accordingly, the CO affirmed its partial rejection of the order and renewed its demand that deficiencies in distribution be made up at no additional expense to the Government. There followed Appellant's notice of appeal to this Board by letter of June 9, 1987, in which in nearly verbatim form it repeats the allegations made by it in its February 26, 1987, letter to the CO. (R4 File, Tab G.) By letter of July 2, 1987, Appellant was notified of the docketing of the appeal and furnished a copy of the Rules of the Board. The letter included the Board's standard advice respecting the requirements for filing of a Complaint, the right to supplement the record with any relevant documents not furnished by the Respondent, and its right to elect to have the matter decided after a hearing or upon the written record without a hearing. No response was received from Appellant within the time provided in the rules. (Official File, Tab 4.) Respondent was notified that although no Complaint was filed, the notice of appeal met the requirements of a Complaint. Thus, Respondent by Answer docketed with the Board on September 8, 1987, responded to Appellant's June 9, 1987, letter. The Respondent alleges that the error was solely that of Appellant; that Appellant was given adequate guidance to perform the contract correctly inasmuch as a two-address sample was provided on the floppy disk "to enable Appellant to align its equipment and to ensure that the full address and the correct 'copies' notation was printed on each label"; that "Appellant failed to follow the sample provided"; that "[b]y misaligning the marginally punched continuous labels, appellant created a situation where the perforations incorrectly divided the address from its corresponding number of copies line . . ."; and that by its statement in both its February 26, 1987 and June 9, 1987, letters that "[a]t the time, we did not notice the end label with copies on it without an address." was "an admission that appellant was negligent in failing to discover the misalignment." Moreover, Appellant had successfully performed these same requirements under the January 1, 1985 through December 31, 1985, Program 1699-S contract. No other information has been furnished to the Board. Thus, the appeal is before the Board in this form for decision upon the written record. DISCUSSION The question presented is whether or not Appellant should be held liable for the errors in printing and distribution in light of its argument that it was given no express directions respecting the placement of copy count data on each label. Having examined all the facts, the Board, being in full agreement with Respondent's analysis of the case, thinks that it should be. The Board believes that a reasonably prudent printer, having the expertise to access addresses stored on 5-1/4" floppy disc(s) in DS/DD, MS-DOS 2.11 compatible format using a Government furnished dBase command file to output labels from a dBase II data base as called for in the contract specifications, when given two test labels preceding the mailing labels in the data base arranged in "text followed by number of copies" format, thusly; THIS IS A TEST LABEL FOR ALIGNMENT OF THE LABEL BOTH VERTICALLY AND HORIZANTALLY [sic]. INSURE [sic] THE LABEL STARTS PRINTING ON THE EXTREME LEFT EDGE. COPIES 2 THIS IS A TEST LABEL FOR ALIGNMENT OF THE LABEL BOTH VERTICALLY AND HORIZANTALLY [sic]. INSURE [sic] THE LABEL STARTS PRINTING ON THE EXTREME LEFT EDGE. COPIES 2 would have recognized from such structure that the copy entry for each label was to follow the address entry it accompanied and not be separated from it by perforations. On the other hand, Appellant's statement that it made a deliberate judgment call to place the copy count at the top of the label because of the purported limitation in the Postal Regulations suggests that it was aware of the proper location of the copy count data on the test labels. If such be the case, which we doubt, Appellant exercised poor judgment. The Board thinks, however, that a more likely scenario is that suggested by Respondent, i.e., Appellant misaligned the job causing the perforations to separate the copy data from its address, thus resulting in "the end label with copies on it without an address" which Appellant admits to in both its February 26 and June 9, 1987, letters. Given such facts and circumstances, it is the decision of this Board that the appeal be denied and the decision of the CO is affirmed. IT IS SO ORDERED.