Docket No. VABCA-7218GPO

Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals


March 28, 2005

Linda Kaiser Hickey, President, Douglass Screen Printers, Inc.,
Lakeland, Florida, for the Appellant.

Roy E. Potter, Esq., Associate Trial Counsel, Trial Attorney,
Washington, D.C., for the U.S. Government Printing Office.




Appellant, Douglass Screen Printers, Inc. (DSP) has timely appealed
the Government Printing Office (GPO) Contracting Officer's final
decision rejecting DSP's printing of Jacket 691-143 under Purchase
Order No. R5518 (Contract) and demanding a no-cost reprint of the
Jacket. The parties have elected to submit this appeal for decision on
the Record in accordance with Rules 11 and 13. The Public Printer, by
Interagency Agreement, dated June 7, 2004, designated this Board, the
Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals (VABCA), to
hear appeals of final decisions by U.S. Government Printing Office
Contracting Officers.

We have before us the pleadings (cited as COMPLAINT, para.     and
ANSWER, para.     ) and the Appeal File consisting of 20 numbered
exhibits (cited as R4, tab     ). In accordance with the PRESUBMISSION
ORDER and Rule 11, supplemental evidence has been submitted into the
record. GPO has submitted the DECLARATION OF CHERI ZIEBART and a CD-
ROM disc described as the Government Furnished Material (GFM) provided
DSP which will be cited as: Exh. G-1 and Exh. G-2 respectively. Both
parties have submitted MAIN BRIEFS which will be cited as: DSP or GPO
Main, p.     . Although afforded the opportunity to do so, neither
party submitted a REPLY BRIEF.

Both entitlement and quantum are before the Board.


GPO, Seattle Regional Printing Procurement Office (SRPPO), awarded
Purchase Order No. R5518 to DSP on May 18, 2004 to print 474 signs for
the United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service for a
total price of $ 4,261.26 and $ 890.00 for each additional hundred
signs ordered. The print job, designated as jacket 691-143, involved
the printing of "vinyl sign patches." The Contract required delivery
of the sign patches at specified destinations on June 6, 2004 and
incorporated GPO Publication 310.2, GPO Contract Terms and GPO
Publication 310.1, Quality Assurance Through Attributes (QTAP) into
its terms. (R4, tab 2)

Jacket 691-143 involved the printing of four separate signs, two of
which are at issue here. Sign 1 listed in the Contract specified the
printing of 50 adhesive-backed vinyl sign patches with the following

"Recreation Pass"---68.4x27" trim, reverse 5" high letters out of
brown background; full bleeds. Square corners.

Sign 2 of the Contract required printing of 300 adhesive-backed vinyl
sign patches with the following specifications:

"Recreational Pass Required" -- 34x121/ 2" trim, reverse 6" high
letters out of brown background; full bleeds. Square corners.

The Contract did not require DSP to submit "proofs" or visuals to GPO
for approval prior to printing. (R4, tab 2)

Sign graphics were to be furnished to DSP on a "pc format cd with
Pagemaker 6.5." Pagemaker is proprietary software program used by
printers. The CD furnished DSP was prepared by Ms. Cheri Ziebart of
the Forest Service. Ms. Ziebart prepared the CD by copying "project
files" from her computer. It was Ms. Ziebart's practice, if she did
not include "hard copy" of the requested printing, to include some
files in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format for the convenience of GPO since
SRPPO was not equipped with the Pagemaker software. According to Ms.
Ziebart, the CD furnished DSP included .pdf files for Contract Items 1
and 3. (R4, tab 2; Exhs. G-1, G-2)

The Forest Service's print request to GPO was made on GPO Standard
Form 1 (SF-1), "Printing and Binding Requisition To the Public
Printer. " The SF-1 includes visual representations of the four signs;
however, the SF-1 was not furnished to DSP until problems arose. 
(R4,tabs 1, 4-7)

The Contract required the following:

Prior to image processing, the contractor shall perform a basic check
(preflight) of the furnished media and publishing files to insure
correct output of the required reproduction image. Any errors, media
damage, or data corruption that might interfere with the proper file
image processing are discovered during inspection by the contractor,
work must be discontinued and further instructions should immediately
by requested from the contract administrator, see below.

(R4, tab 2)

All four Contract items were identified on the SF-1 by a sign number.
The two items at issue here contain the following identifications:

Contract Item 1: 501 Recreation Pass Sign Patch A
Contract Item 2: 503 Recreation Pass Sign Patch C

(R4, tab 1)

In a June 1, 2004 telephone conversation between GPO and DSP, and
follow-up communications with the Forest Service, several questions
concerning the signs were resolved between DSP, GPO and FS, including
a question on the size of Sign 503. Also on June 1, because of the
manufacturer's inability to supply the vinyl patch stock material, GPO
extended DSP's delivery time. (R4, tab 3)

Problems concerning the integrity of the Sign 501 file provided to DSP
and the content of the Sign 503 file arose in June and early-July 2004
when DSP apparently delivered the sign patches to the Forest Service.
On July 2, 2004, the Forest Service informed GPO by telephone that
Sign 503 was missing the word "required" in its text and broached the
subject of a reprint of Sign 503 being required. GPO informed DSP of
the discrepancy and, by a July 7, 2004 e-mail, DSP represented that
the Sign 501 file on the furnished CD could not be opened and that the
text on the visual of Sign 501 forwarded by GPO turned out to be
identical (except for size) to the Sign 503 file on the CD. In the e-
mail, DSP reported that it used the Sign 503 file to print Sign 501
after it made revisions to properly size the patch; DSP rejected any
idea that it was responsible for reprinting Sign 503. GPO, on July 9,
2004, e-mailed DSP .pdf files for Signs 501 and 503. (R4, tabs 4-8)
Because of DSP's representation that the CD furnished to it was
defective, GPO arranged for the original Forest Service CD furnished
to DSP to be evaluated by GPO quality control personnel in Washington,
D.C. The GPO quality control inspectors were able to open all sign
files successfully (in both Adobe and Pagemaker formats) on the
original CD; the inspectors also determined that the text of the 503
file was "Recreation Pass Required."

(R4, tabs 6-12)

The GPO, based on the inspector's information, on July 28, 2004 issued
a rejection letter for Sign 503. The letter asserted QTAP code "F17:
Loss of Information" (failure to have the word "required" on the
patch) as the basis for the rejection. By a July 29, 2004 letter, DSP
disputed that it was responsible for the incorrect Sign 503, alleging
the electronic files furnished by the Forest Service were defective.
DSP asked GPO to furnish a color visual to permit them to properly
produce Sign 503 while informing GPO that it intended to appeal being
directed to reprint at no cost.

GPO furnished a visual to DSP and a new electronic file of Sign 503.
DSP proceeded to successfully print the sign. Prior to printing, DSP
correctly pointed out that the size for Sign 503 indicated on the
visual was different from the size specified in the Contract. In
addition, the visual was different from the electronic file for Sign
503 provided, in that one was a two line format and the other was a
three line format. The three line format was eventually approved for
printing. (R4, tabs 14-19)


DSP seeks payment for an additional $ 2,697, the Contract price for
the 300 signs it had to reprint. The dispute here centers on whether
the GFM computer file for Sign 503 contained the text of the sign as
"Recreation Pass" as originally printed by DSP or whether the text was
"Recreation Pass Required." GPO asserts that the GFM was not defective
and that the GFM CD provided contained Pagemaker and .pdf files of
Sign 503 containing the full text, "Recreation Pass Required." DSP
asserts that the GFM was defective because the Sign 503 file on the
GFM CD it was provided contained only the text "Recreation Pass." We
find the evidence of whether or not the GFM Sign 503 file was
defective to be inconclusive. The fact that the Sign 503 file with
full text was successfully opened by Ms. Ziebart and GPO's quality
control inspectors does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that
the same result obtained on DSP's computer(s). Anyone with even a
passing familiarity with operating computers can relate to the
maddening silicon vagaries of a program or file opening perfectly fine
on one computer while the same file or program simply will not run or
provide useable data on another machine. In the end, the terms of the
Contract make moot the issue of whether the Sign 503 file provided to
DSP was defective.

DSP was obligated by the Contract to "preflight" the GFM and, to an
extent, DSP did just that by its early efforts in making inquiries and
getting resolution of several questions about the signs. For some
reason, be it defective GFM or a simple mistake, DSP failed to
identify that the word "Required" was missing in the Sign 503 text.
However, the description of Item No. 3 [Sign 503] contained in the
Contract clearly included the full text. If, in fact, the GFM Sign 503
file was defective by not having the word "Required", based on the
discrepancy between the file and the Contract patch description, DSP
had an obligation to notify GPO to seek resolution of the discrepancy
prior to printing; this DSP did not do. As a consequence we are lead
to one of two conclusions: either the Sign 503 file was not defective;
or, DSP simply failed to adequately preflight the GFM and discover
that the text of Sign 503 on the file differed from the text stated in
the Contract.

DSP has the burden of proving that the GFM was defective, a burden DSP
fails to carry here. DSP also has the burden of proving that it
notified GPO that the Sign 503 file was defective, a burden it also
fails to meet. Web Business Forms, Inc., GPOBCA 31-89, 1995 WL 488523
(July 22, 1994); Braceland Brothers, Inc., GPOBCA 01-93, 1997 WL
772400 (August 8, 1997).

We are troubled by the format and size differences between visual and
computer files for Sign 503 provided by GPO even after the parties
identified that DSP, right or wrong, was using the wrong text for the
Sign 503. These differences caused DSP to expend additional effort to
resolve these discrepancies It is clear GPO is not without fault here.
DSP simply has not proven that it properly "preflighted" the GFM Sign
503 file. Nor has DSP proven that the GFM Sign 503 file was not
suitable for production of the signs in accordance with Contract
requirements or that it afforded GPO the opportunity, prior to its
original printing of Sign 503, to resolve any problems preventing
proper production. Consequently, DSP was obligated under the Contract
to reprint Sign 503 with the required text at no additional cost.


For the foregoing reasons, the appeal of Appellant, Douglass Screen
Printers, Inc., under U.S. Government Printing Office Purchase Order
No. R5518, VABCA-7218GPO, is DENIED.

DATE: March 28, 2005

Administrative Judge
Panel Chairman

We Concur:

Administrative Judge

Administrative Judge