No. 92-128C

                    (Filed:  October 2, 1992)

           Plaintiff,                   )
           v.                           )   THIS OPINION WILL
                                        )   NOT BE PUBLISHED
                                        )   STATES CLAIMS
  Defendant.                            )   COURT REPORTER.

Richard C. Swanson, Baltimore, Maryland, Pro Se.

Peter Mulhern, United States Department of Justice, Washington,
D.C. for defendant.


HODGES, Judge.

The Government Printing Office Board of Contract Appeals upheld
defendant's decision to terminate for default a contract with
plaintiff Swanson Printing.  Plaintiff appealed the GPO decision
to this court, and defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.


Defendant awarded plaintiff a contract to print bulletins in
April 1990.  All of the following events occur in that same year.

Plaintiff contract was to last approximately on year starting in
May.  In late June, defendant first notified plaintiff that
orders were behind schedule.  Plaintiff advised the Contracting
Officer that he had "machine problems."  The CO issued a cure
notice on July 2.

By July 3, approximately twenty print orders, or nearly half of
all orders placed to date, were due or past due.  Defendant
telephoned plaintiff twice to express dissatisfaction, and on
July 6, sent a second cure notice.  Plaintiff telephoned
defendant on July 9, to establish new dates by which he would
bring the orders current.  Plaintiff later responded to defendant
in writing, referencing the July 2, cure notice.  In this letter
plaintiff again cited machine problems, specifically that his
printing press had unexpectedly broken down and that a second
press that he had ordered was late in arriving.  Plaintiff also
stated that the large number of orders compounded his problems.
Plaintiff did believe, however, that he could be back on schedule
by July 23.

By the end of July, plaintiff was still behind in his deliveries;
he was late on 43 of 69 orders placed.  Defendant sent a third
cure notice on August 3, to which plaintiff did not respond in
writing.  On August 23, defendant sent plaintiff notice of
termination for default.

Plaintiff petitioned to the Government Printing Office Board of
Contract Appeals (the Board) to have the termination for default
changed to a termination for convenience.  The Board denied the


The Contract Disputes Act (CDA), 41 U.S.C.  601-613 (1988),
applies only to contracts entered into by executive agencies.  41
U.S.C.  602(a) (1988).  Because the GPO is a congressional
agency, the CDA does not apply.  Fry Communications, Inc. v.
United States, 22 Cl. Ct. 497, 502 (1991) (relying on Tatelbaum
Creditors of A. Hown & Co. v. United States, 749 F.2d 729 (Fed.
Cir. 1984)).  We have jurisdiction because plaintiff seeks money
damages for breach of contract with the United States under the
Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C.  1491(a)(1) (1988).  Fry Communications,
22 Cl. Ct. at 503.

The applicable standard of review is expressed in the Wunderlich
Act, which states in part that any decision by a board of
contract appeals is final unless it is "capricious or arbitrary
or so grossly erroneous as necessarily to imply bad faith, or not
supported by substantial evidence."  41 U.S.C.  321 (1988).
While this court is not bound by a board's decision, legal
interpretations by such boards are considered helpful even if not
compelling, and will be given great weight if reasonable and
based on the particular board's expertise.  Flexible Metal Hose
Mfg. v. United States, 4 Cl. Ct. 522, 527 (1984).  Thus,
plaintiff bears a heavy burden with its claim in this court.  He
has not met this burden.

Plaintiff alleges that defendant placed orders that were too
large and too frequent and that machinery problems caused him to
fall behind in the orders.  However, plaintiff admitted during
oral argument that if the second machine had been delivered on
time, he could have handled the contract "without any problem,"
even with the unexpected heavy volume.  Plaintiff's admission
eliminates his first argument concerning the volume or orders.
We need consider only plaintiff's difficulty in obtaining the
machinery necessary to fulfill the contract.

An alleged breach by a supplier does not excuse the contractor's
default.  Industrial Design Labs. v. United States, 228 Ct. Cl.
904, 905 (1981).  Boards of contract appeals have routinely
reached the same conclusion.  See e.g., Sonora Mfg., Inc., ASBCA
No. 31589, 91-1 BCA  23,444 at 117,630; HMC Mach. Co., ASBCA No.
38636, 90-3 BCA  23,170 at 116,284; Fleetwood Portable Bldg.
Co., ASBCA No. 31711, 90-2 BCA  22,843 at 114,702.  Thus,
plaintiff's argument that his supplier's delay in furnishing the
new machine caused a legally excusable delay in performance is
without merit.

As a general rule, the unexplained breakdown of machinery is not
excusable, either.  Chavis and Chavis Printing, GPO BCA 20-90
slip op. at 13-14 (Feb. 6, 1991).  A contractor has an obligation
to assure itself of the availability of necessary supplies and
machinery.  Id.

Plaintiff's defective machinery and plaintiff's inability to
correct the problem caused delayed performance here.  Neither of
these problems was of defendant's making, so defendant cannot be
burdened with the difficulties they created.  A.B.G. Instrument &
Eng'g v. United States, 593 F.2d 394, 405 (Ct. Cl. 1979).


Finding no evidence that the legal conclusions by the Board were
capricious or arbitrary or grossly erroneous, we affirm the
Board's decision.  Defendant's motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED.  No costs.