UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS Appeal of Cloverleaf Enterprises, Inc. Decision dated May 9, 1980 JAY E. EISEN, Chairman JEFFREY L. BOWMAN, Member JOHN D. BENNETT, Member Panel 20-79 I. Introduction This decision concerns an appeal filed on September 10, 1979 by Cloverleaf Enterprises, Incorporated, 5819 Seminary Road, Baileys Crossroads, Virginia, 22041, hereafter referred to as the contractor, under the disputes clause of the contract, Article 29, United States Government Printing Office, Contract Terms No. 1, dated July 1, 1943 revised July 15, 1970. The appeal came before the Board on February 13, 1980, following a decision by the Contracting Officer on August 16, 1979, after the Contracting Officer and the Contractor were unable to agree on the amount of termination costs, subsequent to the termination of the contract by the Government Printing Office for the convenience of the Government. The appellant submitted its notice of appeal by letter dated September 10, 1979. The appellant requested an informal hearing in accordance with Paragraph 13, Government Printing Office Instruction 110.10, June 6, 1979. (Board of Contract Appeals Rules of Practice and Procedure). Accordingly, no verbatim transcript was prepared. W. McCauley Arnold, Esquire and Laurie L. Dolson, Esquire appeared as the appellant's counsel. Mr. Joseph Laws, President of Cloverleaf Enterprises was present. James Lane, Esq., Office of General Counsel, GPO, appeared for the Contracting Officer, Mr. Raymond A. Hartman, who also was present at the hearing. II. Issue Presented (a) This is an appeal from an unilateral determination by the contracting officer of the amount of settlement upon termination of contract for the convenience of the Government. (b) The contractor submitted a claim at the informal hearing for damages in the amount of approximately $84,100 against the Government representing net profit based on the estimated cost of production for one year based on breach of contract. III. Finding of Fact 1. On November 1, 1976, Cloverleaf Enterprises, Incorporated was swarded by the U.S. Government Printing Office, Regional Procurement Office, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. a requirement type contract for the production of Tech Reports under the title of the Published Search Program 1345-S, Purchase Order D-2761 for the Department of Commerce/NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia. Program 1345-S, a term contract covered the period beginning November 1, 1976, and ending October 31, 1977, at an estimated cost of $841,009.35. 2. The contract under "Specifications" contained a section relating to frequency of print orders which reads as follows: "FREQUENCY OF ISSUE: No guarantee can be made, but it is anticipated that there will be 11 orders per day (during each working day of the year) for Tech Reports, 6 total orders for Tech Report covers (1 order every 2 months) and 6 total orders (1 order every 2 months) for Inserts. * NOTE: Covers for Tech Reports will be ordered 6 times per year with an average of 10,000 copies per order" (Exhibit 2) 3. The specification provided that GPO Form 198, U.S. Government Printing Office Contract Terms No. 1 approved July 1, 1943 (Rev. 7-15-70) is incorporated by reference as part of the contract. 4. Article 16. Contract Terms No. 1, Termination, convenience of the Government provides the following: 'The contract may be terminated by the Government, even though the contractor be not in default, by a notice in writing relative thereto from the contracting officer to the contractor. In case such notice be given the contractor, the contract shall terminate ipso facto with the giving of said notice. Upon such termination the contractor shall forthwith upon the call, deliver to the Government, in their then state of completion, all articles or materials not previously delivered, and all work in process, and the Government shall pay the contractor all amounts, if any, remaining due and unpaid under the contract for those articles completed, delivered, and accepted by the Government; and the Government shall also pay the contractor for all partially completed articles, materials, work in process, and things to be so delivered upon acceptance by the Government of the contractor's proposal for settlement on Form R-2227, or at the option of the Government by an audit conducted by or for the Government or by change order issued by the contracting officer. The amount of settlement on the basis of audit, when so determined, will be computed as follows: '(a) There shall be determined by an audit, the total net cost of all partially completed work performed under the contract. '(b) The contractor and the contracting officer, based on the foregoing audit, shall agree upon an amount representing the total net cost to the contractor for the entire contract. '(c) The total net cost of the entire contract as agreed upon will be subtracted from the total contract price. The difference will furnish the margin of profit had the contract been completed. The percentage of the partially completed work will be determined and such percentage will be used to compute the additional amount to be added to the net cost of partially completed work in settlement. 'The amount of settlement on the basis of a change order issued by the contracting officer will be determined as follows: Review will be made by the contracting officer of the cost of the completed work. The contracting officer and the contractor will agree as to the proper compensation for the work performed in full and final settlement of all rights arising from the contract. This change order will show the exact amount to be paid to the contractor and will be the basis for submitting his billing to the Government Printing Office for the work involved. 'Upon the making of said payments all obligations of the government to make further payments or to carry out other undertakings hereunder shall cease forthwith and forever. except that all rights and obligations of the respective parties under the articles, if any, of this contract applicable to patents shall remain in full force and effect." 5. Article 29. Contract Terms No. 1, Disputes provides the following: "Except as otherwise provided in this contract, any dispute concerning a question of fact arising under this contract which is not disposed of by agreement shall be decided by the Contracting Officer, who shall reduce his decision to writing and mail or otherwise furnish a copy thereof to the Contractor. The decision of the contracting Officer shall be final and conclusive unless, within 30 days from the date of receipt of such copy, the Contractor ails or otherwise furnishes to the contracting Officer a written appeal addressed to the Public Printer. The decision of the Public Printer or his duly authorized representative for the determination of such appeals shall be final and conclusive unless determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been fraudulent, or capricious, or arbitrary, or so grossly erroneous as necessarily to imply bad faith, or not supported by substantial evidence. In connection with any appeal proceeding under this clause, the Contractor shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to offer evidence in support of its appeal. Pending final decision of a dispute hereunder, the contractor shall proceed diligently with the performance of the contract and in accordance with the Contracting Officer's decision. '(a) This 'Disputes' clause does not preclude consideration of law questions in connection with decisions provided for in the paragraph above: Provided, That nothing in this contract shall be construed as making final the decision of any administrative official, representative, or board on a question of law." 6. The Department of Commerce, on November 22, 1976 requested that Program 1345-S, Published Search Program be cancelled, because the contract price is more than three times what they were paying for the same publication produced.at Springfield, Virginia, National Technical Information Service. The Department supported their request by data and computations that concluded that the contract cost of a book amounted to $14.07 in comparison to their cost of $4.07. The request for cancellation of the contract was made prior to the order of any of the items called for in the contract. Based on the difference in the cost of a completed book, the National Technical Information Service, Department of Commerce elected not to use the services of the contractor and to produce the job in their own authorized printing plant. (Exhibit 4) 7. The contracting officer, at the GPO, Regional Printing Office, on December 13, 1976, recommended to the GPO Contract Review Board that Program 1345-S be terminated for the convenience of the Government. He supplied estimates that indicated that the average individual order of 184 pages, 21 copies, would cost $294.40 on the contract, and that the estimated cost of the same order would cost $200.53 if produced at the GPO, Departmental Service Office, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. the Contract Review Board concurred in the contracting officers recommendation. The contracting officer notified the contractor on December 13, 1976 that Program 1345-S, Purchase Order D-2761 was to be terminated for the convenience and in the best interests of the Government. (Exhibits 5, 6) 8. Under the date of December 26, 1978, after prior correspondence by appellant's counsel, the appellant prepared and submitted to the contracting officer a settlement proposal which called for the payment of $94,705.00. This total was made up of the following items: Purchase by Cloverleaf on November 8, 1976 of binding machine $ 1,795.50 Anticipated Profits for six months 42,910.00 Fixed overhead costs for six months 50,000.00 $ 94,705.00 (Exhibit 7E) 9. The parties were unable to arrive at any amount for settlement and under the date, June 15, 1979, the contractor submitted a revised claim as a settlement proposal which called for the payment of $41,051.97 to the appellant. This total was made up of the following items: 1. Machinery (Bindfast #2, Serial No. 76042566) $ 1,795.50 2. Business Losses from July 1, 1976 through June 30, 1977 37,256.47 3. Attorney's Fees 2,000.00 $ 41,051.97 (Exhibit 7J) 10. The parties were unable to agree on a settlement under Article 16 o: the contract, "Termination, convenience of the Government", and the contracting officer accordingly made a unilateral determination of the amount due in his final decision on August 31, 1979 which called for the payment of $460 to the appellant made up of the following items: 1. Depreciation of equipment for a year and administrative expenses in purchase of the equipment $ 180 2. Allowance for depreciation of equipment for two months 30 3. Attorney's Fees 250 $ 460 (Exhibit 7M) 11. Mr. Joseph Laws, stated that he is the surviving officer of the Cloverleaf Enterprises, Incorporated, a Virginia Corporation, which was dissolved during June 1977 pursuant to Virginia statute; he stated that he assumed the assets and liabilities after buying the shares in the corporation previously held by Mr. Charles R. Armstrong, who was president of the corporation. Mr. Armstrong's signature appears on the bid which was accepted by the Government on November 4, 1976. While Mr. Laws appeared before the Board of Contract Appeals, he revised his claim to read as follows: 1. Overhead expenses: idle time of employees, rent etc. $ 10,986.69 2. Cost of binding machine 1,795.00 3. Business loss (anticipated business) 37,023.00 4. Other lost profits 10,524.79 $ 60,329.48 No data was presented to support the above items except for cancelled checks for the cost of the binding machine. 5. In addition, the appellant has filed claims for attorney fees as follows: (a) Douglas E. Congdon at $40 per hour x 24.2 hours = $ 968.00 (b) W. McCauley Arnold $65 per hour x 31.9 hours = 2,073.50 (c) Laurie L. Dolson $50 per hour x 55.40 hours = 2,775.00 (d) William D. Cremins $65 per hour x 4 hours = 260.00 $ 6,076.50 (Exhibit 7U, V, W) IV. Opinion The initial issue raised by the contractor is based on breach of contract wherein the appellant claims that he is entitled to the full contract price. The Board therefore was confronted at the outset with the task of deciding the motion made by the respondent alleging that the disputes clause of the contract excludes breach of contract claims from its coverage, and that the Board lacks jurisdiction to consider the issue. Our jurisdiction under the Disputes Clause, Article 29, GPO Contract Terms No. 1 provides: "Except as otherwise provided in this contract, any dispute concerning a question of fact arising under this contract which is not disposed of by agreement shall be decided by the Contracting Officer, who shall reduce his decision to writing and mail or otherwise furnish a copy thereof to the Contractor. The decision of the contracting Officer shall be final and conclusive unless, within 30 days from the date of receipt of such copy, the Contractor mails or otherwise furnishes to the contracting Officer s written appeal addressed to the Public Printer. The decision of the Public Printer or his duly authorized representative for the determination of such appeals shall be final and conclusive unless determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to have been fraudulent, or capricious, or arbitrary, or so grossly erroneous as necessarily to imply bad faith, or not supported by substantial evidence. In connection with any appeal proceeding under this clause, the Contractor shall be afforded an opportunity to be heard and to offer evidence in support of its appeal. Pending final decision of a dispute hereunder, the contractor shall proceed diligently with the performance of the contract and in accordance with the Contracting Officer's decision. '(a) This 'Disputes' clause does not preclude consideration of law questions in connection with decisions provided for in the paragraph above: Provided, That nothing in this contract shall be construed as making final the decision of any administrative official, representative, or board on a question of law." Therefore, it is the conclusion of the Board that our jurisdiction is limited to the consideration of factual issues in disputes "arising under this contract." In U.S. v. Utah Construction and Mining Co., 384 U.S. 394 (1966) the Court states: ". . . the settled construction of the disputes clause excludes breach of contract claims from its coverage . . .." The following cases decided by Boards of Contract Appeals found that breach of contract claims were beyond the jurisdiction of the Board; Jack Clark (1957) ASBCA No. 3672, 57-2 BCA ¶ 1402; Alco Lumber Co., Inc. (1964) ASBCA No. 9461, 1964 BCA ¶ 4349; E. & E. J. Pfotzer (1965) Eng. BCA No. 2656, 65-2 BCA ¶ 5144. Again, it is our opinion, as stated at the informal hearing on February 13, 1980, upon sustaining respondent's motion, that the appellant has presented a legal issue to the Board namely, breach of contract, and we have no jurisdiction to hear it. Accordingly the Board's ruling stands on that issue. Turning now to the claims of the appellant as to the issue of entitlements, of damages and costs incurred, including lost profits, business loss, cost of equipment and attorney's fees, resulting from the termination for convenience provision of the contract. This provision stated among other things as follows: "The contract may be terminated by the Government, even though the contractor be not in default, by a notice in writing relative thereto from the contracting officer to the contractor. In case such notice be given the contractor, the contract shall terminate ipso facto with the giving of said notice. . . ." In their negotiations the appellant and the contracting officer were unable to agree on the amount due appellant for expenses incurred in preparing to receive print orders under the requirement contract. The Government invoked the termination clause for a justifiable cause, when it found that it could secure the ordered publications at a cost of about one third in comparison to the amount priced by the contractor. No orders were issued by the Government under the requirement contract to the contractor. It has been held that the Government's right to terminate the performance of work for the convenience of the Government may be exercised at any time after the execution of the contract and need not wait until some work has actually been performed under the contract. (Librach et al. v. United States, 147 Ct. Cl. 605 (1959)). "The Court held in Librach (supra) . . . [that the contracting officer knew of the better price elsewhere when he awarded the contract to plaintiff - in the absence of some proof of malice or conspiracy against the plaintiff - means only that the contract was awarded improvidently and does not narrow the right to terminate (Emphasis added.)" The termination of convenience provision may be utilized whenever the contracting officer shall determine that it is in the best interests of the Government. The broad reach of that phrase comprehends termination in a host of variable and unspecified situations calling for the ending of the agreement. In this case it was not for a decrease of the needs of the product, but because of the disparity in the costs of the publication when printed by the Department of Commerce in contrast to the price recited by the contractor. The basis for the costs were based on a computation submitted by the customer agency. Under the all inclusive termination clause the Government has the right to terminate at will. Davis Sewing Machine Co. v. United States, 60 Ct. Cl. 201 (1925) Aff'd 273 U.S. 324; Librach v. U.S., (supra). Also see Colonial Metals Co. v. United States, 494 F.2d 1355, 204 Ct. Cl. 320 (1974) There does not appear to be any evidence of bad faith or abuse of discretion on the part of the contracting officer in this case, and in the absence of such evidence, the contracting officer's election to terminate is conclusive. Line Construction Co. v. United States, 109 Ct. Cl. 154 (1947). Any analysis of a question of Governmental bad faith must begin with the presumption that public officials act conscientiously in the discharge of their duties, Knotts v. United States, 128 Ct. Cl. 489 (1954) Under the termination clause, the appellant would be entitled in general to the unreimbursed costs of performance for those items completed or partially completed but since no print orders were ever issued to him, there does not appear to be any unreimbursed costs of performance. The termination clause does not refer to anticipated unearned profits and therefore the appellant would have no claim to such anticipated profits as presented by him. G. L. Christian and Associates v. United States, 312 F.2d 418. cert denied 375 U.S. 954 (1963). The appellant's principal claims are for the profit he would have made if all of the Government orders under the contract had been routed to him during the viability of the contract and business losses incurred as s result of the appellant dropping other customers. Those are types of recovery to which he is not entitled on a convenience termination, and accordingly to which he now has no right. It is well established that such claims are not a recoverable adjunct to a termination for convenience settlement and, in this instance, are non-recoverable since there is an absence of any provision in the contract between the parties that provides the basis for such a claim. Nolan Brothers, Incorporated v. United States, 186 Ct. Cl. 602, Keijidosha Hanabai K. K., ASBCA, 73-1 BCA ¶ 9982; Donald Goodnight, ASBCA, 78-1, BCA ¶ 13,192. Appellant's claim for anticipated profits and loss of business therefore is denied. With respect to the Appellant's claim for attorney's fees, the contract as expressed in Article 16. GPO Contract Terms No. 1 does not expressly authorize attorney's fees, however Board of Contract Appeals as indicated in Kalvar Corp. v. United States, 543 F.2d 1298 (1976) will allow legal fees to the extent reasonably necessary for the preparation and presentation of settlement proposals. However, attorney's fees for prosecuting disputes before administrative boards have been held to be not recoverable because they were not incurred in performance of the contr*ct. Dale Constr. Co. v. United States, 168 Ct. Cl. 692. The contractor in filing a revised claim under date, June 15, 1979, claimed the sum of $2,000 for attorney fees. Attorneys W. McCauley Arnold and Laurie L. Dolson submitted affidavits at the hearing with attachments 1, and 2 for claims of attorney fees as follows: (1) Douglas E. Congdon, $40 per hour x 24.2 hours = $ 968.00 (2) W. McCauley Arnold, $65 per hour x 31.9 hours = 2,073.50 (3) Laurie L. Dolson, $50 per hour x 55.40 hours = 2,775.00 (4) William D. Cremins, $65 per hour x 4 hours = 260.00 Total $ 6,076.50 Counsel for appellant in its closing summation dated March 12, 1980 assert that the legal fees incurred in attempting to settle the claim amounts $5,000. It appears that a greater percentage of the hourly items pertain to the prosecution of the appeal hearing. There is a suggestion that some of the work performed was duplicitous because of a change of counsel during the settlement negotiation stages most of which was conducted by an exchange of correspondence. In considering the contractors' claim for attorney's fees, it is necessary to consider the nature and form of the legal activities such as its magnitude and complexity, rather than the time listed by counsel. The record before us indicates an expenditure in excess of 115 hours by four attorneys for the preparation of the settlement claim. It is our opinion that the expenditure of this time by the four attorneys was not reasonably necessary for the preparation and presentation of the claim to the contracting officer. Accordingly, it appears that the amount offered by the contracting officer, $250 for legal fees appears fair and reasonable. Aerospace Electronics, Inc., ASBCA, No. 7955, Mar. 22, 1963, 1963 BCA ¶ 3698. With respect to the Appellant's claim for the cost of an adhesive binding machine (Bindfast #2, Serial No. 76042566) purchased at a cost of $1,795.50 on November 8, 1976 in preparation for the performance of the contract, Mr. Laws indicated that with the dissolution of Cloverleaf Enterprises, Inc., he was unable to sell the equipment. He advertised by word of mouth, without success and indicated that there is no demand for this type of equipment in the printing trade. No supporting evidence was presented to show that it is obsolescent, or that there is no ready market for the equipment. The contracting officer allowed $180 based on a depreciation period of ten years plus 10% allowance for administrative expenses. Considering that the contract was awarded on November 1, 1976 and terminated on December 13, 1976, the total allowance of $210 appears more than fair and reasonable to indemnify the contractor as an expense in connection with the purchase of the adhesive binding machine.-1/ The Board in arriving at its decision, in addition to considering the contents in the file, and the matters presented at the hearing, carefully reviewed the closing statement of the appellant, particularly with regard to the legal authorities cited therein. No closing statement or comment was furnished by counsel for the Contracting Officer. In reviewing Inland Container, Inc. v. United States, 512 F.2d 1073 (1975), we find it to be particularly apposite since it is a breach of contract case, with damages to be determined under the convenience termination clause in the particular contract. The Court unable to compute the damages precisely measured the damages under the convenience - termination clause. In our case the Article 16 clause sets the limit to any possible recovery under a disputed question of fact. Decision It is unfortunate that the contractor, as a result of the Government terminating the contract for the convenience and in the best interests of the Government, was deprived of an opportunity to receive any print orders and complete the contract and endeavor to make an expected profit. However, by agreeing to include Article 16, Contract Terms No. 1, the contractor placed in the hands of the Government the discretionary authority to terminate the contract at will, and the appellant agreed that in the event of such termination, their allowances should be computed in accordance with the provisions of Article 16. In the absence of any clear and convincing proof of bad faith on the part of the Government, this Board concurs with the final decision issued by the Contracting Officer. Accordingly, in reviewing all of the evidence that presented, it is the decision of this Board to deny the appeal of Cloverleaf Enterprises, Incorporated. _______________ 1/ See Grimsrud and Carr, ASBCA No. 7961, Oct. 31, 1962, 1962 BCA ¶ 3562, a case of almost identical facts as relating to a snowplow acquired by appellant at a cost of $4513. An entitlement of $254.10 was allowed as depreciation for availability during a 2 1/2 month contract period. S.M.S. Industries, Inc., ASBCA No. 4114, 1952, 58-1 BCA ¶ 1682 is distinguished in that the contract required the contractor to maintain a state of readiness in equipment and personnel at all times to service airplane engines.