GPO BCA 15-85
June 25, 1986
MICHAEL F. DiMARIO, Administrative Law Judge


   This appeal timely filed by American Drafting & Laminating
   Company (hereinafter "ADL" or "Appellant"), P.O.  Box 62464,
   Virginia Beach, VA 23462, arises under the "Disputes" clause
   of the U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1,
   revised October 1, 1980 (GPO Publication 310.2) which was
   incorporated in each of two certain contracts between the
   Appellant and the U.S. Government Printing Office (hereinafter
   "GPO" or "Respondent"), the contracts being identified as
   Jacket No. 739-923 and Jacket No. 740-101.  Under each
   contract Appellant submitted a voucher for certain sums of
   money it deemed due and owing for work performed.  Thereafter,
   Respondent remitted reduced payments to the Appellant
   disputing Appellant's method of computing charges for
   composition of text matter.  Appellant then requested
   reconsideration of the payment reduction and asked for
   clarification of the method of composition measurement used by
   the Government.  After two reviews and certain modifications
   to the Government's position, not important to the current
   appeal, the dispute remains unresolved.  Thus, Appellant
   appealed to this Board for resolution of the appeal requesting
   that the matter be decided upon the written record using
   accelerated procedures.  The appeal is denied for reasons set
   forth hereinbelow.


   The Appellant in its notice of appeal states that:  The
   dispute "centers upon the method of measurement used to
   compute composition payments.  ADL submitted its' [sic] bid
   and vouchers based upon the bid specification terms of 'per
   column inch basis,' white areas not included.  The GPO is
   believed to have computed payment based upon line count."

   Subsequently, by letter of December 23, 1985, Appellant,
   having reviewed the Contracting Officer's appeal file
   (hereinafter "R4 File") of November 20, 1985, stated:

[t]he GPO has since conceded that column inch measurement was
proper . . . .

     After conceding [this] . . ., the GPO's reason given for
     voucher reductions has now been changed to ADL billing for
     white space and space for illustrations in line I(a)(l) and
     I(a)(2).  (Exhibit W, Chronology of Events paragraph 8 and
     Finding of Fact paragraph 2.) ADL, the Contracting Officer
     and FME all concur that all other lines were billed
     correctly and paid accordingly.  (Exhibits S, T, U, W.)
     Accepting that, the dispute now centers only on the above
     named lines and the supposed white spaces within them billed
     as text.  ADL again states its column inch measurements did
     not include illustration spacing.  Any small white areas
     that were included were integral to running text spacing or
     measured to include the folio number which is considered
     text composition in the contracts (Exhibits B and G, Text
     matter . . .)

Official Record, Tab 6

   Respondent's narrative explanation of November 1, 1985, signed
   by Daniel H. Clurman, Acting Manager, Hampton Regional
   Printing Procurement Office, R4 File, Exhibit W, together with
   the statement of reexamination of the disputed vouchers by G.
   W. Berard, Voucher Examination Branch, dated October 31, 1985,
   and related memoranda and documents in the R4 File, set forth
   Respondent's reasons for disallowing Appellant's composition
   measurements.  The case comes to the Board in this format.


   There being no factual disputes, this case presents a single
   legal question which must be resolved.  The legal question is
   one of contract language interpretation which is a matter of
   law.  Thus, any decision by this Board concerning such
   question is subject to review by the courts pursuant to the
   Wunderlich Act (41 U.S.C. 321 et seq).  This Board believes
   that the contract speaks precisely to the question of
   composition measurement and whether or not white spaces
   falling between text matter is to be included within the
   measurement of column inches of composition for payment
   purposes under the terms of the contract.  The contract
   expressly states that "[t]ext matter will be paid for on a per
   column inch basis for lines up to 30 picas and for lines over
   30 picas." (Emphasis added)  The Schedule of Prices upon which
   the contractor sets forth his bid includes under I.(a) an all-
   inclusive price for text composition up to 30 picas per column
   inch, and I.(2) an all-inclusive price per text composition
   over 30 picas per column inch.  "Text matter" is defined in
   the contract "as all type set in sizes up to and including 14-
   point except for legends, captions, running heads, and
   typematter within an illustration." (Emphasis added) The law
   of contract interpretation requires that words be given their
   plain meaning unless there is some ambiguity which would
   require the use of interpretative rules to ascertain the
   intention of the parties.  Kass v. William Norwitz Co., 509
   F.Supp. 618 (D.D.C. 1980).  In the case at hand, text matter
   is type.  The word type is qualified only by reference to
   point size and exclusion of material which would otherwise be
   included within the ordinary meaning of type; that is, printed
   legends, captions, running heads, and type matter within an
   illustration.  Certainly, there is no intention to include
   within the word "type" white space or space between groupings
   of text or text and illustrations.  The Board, therefore,
   holds that under the terms of the contract, the proper method
   of measuring text matter for payment for composition purposes
   would be to measure text material excluding white spacing,
   such as white spaces between paragraphs, and white spaces
   between text and illustrations in calculating the number of
   column inches of composition for which the Appellant is
   entitled to be paid.  Since the Respondent has apparently
   followed this method of measurement, the Board affirms the
   Respondent's decision and denies the appeal.  The Board has
   not and does not intend to review the arithmetic used by the
   Respondent.  It directs the Respondent, however, to assure
   that the Appellant has been paid in accordance with the
   decision of this Board as to the proper method of measurement
   pursuant to the contract specifications.  Denied.