U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS WASHINGTON, DC 20401 In the Matter of ) ) the Appeal of ) ) UNITED COMPUTER SUPPLIES, ) Docket No. GPOBCA 26-94 JOINT VENTURE ) Program C384-S ) Print Orders 80163 and 80164 ) For the Appellant: United Computer Supplies, Joint Venture, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, by Frederic G. Antoun, Jr., Attorney at Law, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. For the Respondent: Kerry L. Miller, Esq., Associate General Counsel, U.S. Government Printing Office. Before BERGER, Ad Hoc Chairman. DECISION AND ORDER By Notice of Appeal filed on July 21, 1994, United Computer Supplies, Joint Venture (hereinafter Appellant, Contractor, or UCSJV), 2800 Carl Street, Elk Grove Village, Illinois, timely appealed the May 13, 1994, final decision of Contracting Officer Jack Scott of the U.S. Government Printing Office (hereinafter Respondent or GPO) finding that Appellant was overpaid in the amount of $80,132.75 on Print Order 80163, Program C384-S, and in the amount of $34,415.39 on Print Order 80164, Program C384-S, and directing that those amounts be recovered from Appellant. See Rule 4 File, Tabs J and K.1 For the reasons which follow, the Contracting Officer's final decision is AFFIRMED and the appeal is DENIED.2 I. BACKGROUND 1. On or about December 3, 1992, Respondent, after competitive bidding, awarded Appellant a requirements contract for Program C384-S which called for the production of "multiple-part sets (carbonless paper)" as requisitioned by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during the period December 1, 1992 to November 30, 1993. Rule 4 File, Tabs A and C. 2. The scope of the contract was described as "the production of multiple-part carbonless paper sets, fan apart or equal, and/or pads requiring such operations as film making, composition, printing, cutting, drilling, perforating, numbering, padding, packing, and delivery." The paper sets were to be collated, trimmed to size, and joined into sets by "edge bonding." Two "trim size" formats were identified for pricing purposes: format A included 3" x 5" up to 4" x 6", while format B encompassed larger than 4" x 6" up to 8-1/2" x 11". Rule 4 File, Tab A at 4, 6. 3. Under this contract, "direct contact" between Appellant and NIH was authorized, with NIH empowered to issue print orders directly to Appellant.3 NIH could not, however, change the specifications, contract terms, or a print order once issued. Rule 4 File, Tab D. 4. On September 22, 1993, NIH issued Print Orders 80163 and 80164 to Appellant under Program C384-S. The print orders called for the production of 120,000 and 60,000, respectively, 6-part marginally punched continuous forms. The specifications attached to the print orders required marginal perforations 1/2" from the left and right margins. The specifications also described an "overall" size of 9-1/2" x 11"; the print orders set forth a "trim size" of 8-1/2" x 11". Rule 4 File, Tabs E and F. 5. Appellant produced and delivered the forms called for by the print orders and subsequently billed GPO in accordance with the pricing set forth in its Program C384-S contract. For Print Order 80163, Appellant billed $93,230.80, which included charges of $70,092.00 for 2,376,000 perforations. Rule 4 File, Tab E. For Print Order 80164, Appellant billed $41,890.90, of which $35,046.00 was for 1,188,000 perforations. Rule 4 File, Tab F. GPO, after taking a 5 percent prompt payment discount, paid Appellant $88,569.26 and $39,796.35 for its work on the two print orders. Rule 4 File, Tabs E and F. 6. NIH, upon being charged the cost of the two print orders by the Respondent, advised GPO that the cost was too high and far in excess of what it had paid previously and what it had expected to pay. HT 174-5, 237. The GPO Contracting Officer reviewed the matter and concluded that the work ordered by NIH was outside the scope of the Program C384-S contract4 and that NIH was not authorized to issue print orders to the Program C384-S contractor for marginally punched continuous forms. HT 237-41. The Contracting Officer then determined that the work could have been ordered (by GPO, but not by NIH directly) from United Computer Supplies under the A1026-M program, which covers the procurement of marginally punched continuous forms and for which United Computer Supplies was one of several contractors, for a cost of $8,436.51 for the work covered by Print Order 80163 and $5,380.96 for the work encompassed by Print Order 80164. Rule 4 File, Tab G. Determining that these amounts represented the fair market value of what Appellant had delivered to the Government, the Contracting Officer decided that the Contractor was entitled, under a quantum meruit theory, only to those amounts. HT 241 et seq. The Contracting Officer directed that the difference between the sum of those amounts and what GPO had paid, $114,548.14, be recovered. Rule 4 File, Tab K. That recovery subsequently was effected. App. Brf. at 13. The Appellant seeks repayment of that amount. II. POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES A. The Appellant The Appellant asserts that it is entitled to what it was originally paid for the two print orders because the work called for was within the scope of its Program C384-S contract. According to the Appellant, its contract is for "Multiple Part Sets (carbonless paper) and "[n]o one has disputed that the products ordered and produced under Print Orders 80163 and 80164 are multiple part carbonless paper sets." App. Brf. at 5. Further, the Appellant states that during the term of its contract, and during the terms of prior C384-S program contracts where United Computer Supplies was the contractor, several orders for marginally punched continuous forms had been placed and processed under those contracts. Complaint at 1. Among those orders were ones in 1992 for the same forms (NIH Forms 2555 and 2556) that were the subject of Print Orders 80163 and 80164. App. Brf. at 2; Rule 4 File, Tabs L and M. GPO approved and paid for the work performed pursuant to those orders, agreeing that payment should be based on the line item pricing in the Program C384-S contract. App. Brf. at 2. Accordingly, the Appellant argues that Print Orders 80163 and 80164 fall within the scope of its C384-S program contract, and that if there is any ambiguity about the scope of that contract it must be resolved against the Respondent. App. Brf. at 5-7. The Appellant further argues that, regardless of the proper interpretation of the contract as written, the "course of dealing" between Appellant and Respondent involving the placement of orders under the requirements contract for products exceeding 8-1/2" x 11" and for continuous forms establishes that Appellant was entitled to process the print orders under the contract. App. Brf., 7-10. Finally, the Appellant asserts that the Respondent, under equitable estoppel principles, is estopped from refusing to pay in accordance with the contract pricing because the Respondent knew but concealed from the Appellant how it interpreted the "trim size" requirement of the contract and under what circumstances it would pay for perforations in accordance with contract line item pricing. App. Brf. at 11-12. B. The Respondent The Respondent insists that the Appellant was not authorized to produce the NIH forms under the C384-S program contract because that work was outside the scope of the contract and NIH therefore acted outside the scope of its authority in issuing the print orders. Respondent asserts that marginally punched continuous forms, as called for by the print orders, are fundamentally different from the carbonless paper sets encompassed by the C384- S program. According to the Respondent, the carbonless paper sets consist of "multiple page forms, trimmed on all four sides to size, and fastened together at the top with fan apart type adhesive," while marginally punched continuous forms are "manufactured from a continuous roll of paper that is not cut into units or sets" and that have "small holes punched into the margins of the paper which are used to propel the continuous forms through an automatic feed computer printer." Resp. Brf. at 5-6. The Respondent asserts that there are both "physical and functional dissimilarities" between the two and notes that: (1) GPO considers the production of multi-form sets and the production of marginally punched continuous forms to be different manufacturing specialties, and (2) the two types of products have different Standard Industrial Classification codes. Resp. Brf. at 5 and Attachments A and B. The Respondent also asserts that the specified trim size of the NIH forms "exceeded the trim size parameters" of the C384-S contract and that the method of joining used, "crimping in the right and left margins," is inconsistent with the contract requirement for joining by "special edge binding adhesive." Resp. Brf. at 6. The Respondent also disputes the Appellant's assertions regarding course of dealing and equitable estoppel. The Respondent argues that there is no course of dealing between the Appellant and the Respondent because the prior contracts were awarded to United Computer Supplies while the Appellant is a joint venture, of which United Computer Supplies is one of three members, performing its first Program C384-S contract. The Respondent further states that United Computer Supplies itself "performed no actual production" in connection with Print Orders 80163 and 80164. As for equitable estoppel, the Respondent, argues that the Government cannot be estopped because of the unauthorized acts of a Government employee. The Respondent asserts that the GPO Contracting Officer had no knowledge of and did not approve any waiver of specifications or issuance of print orders outside the scope of the contract. III. ISSUES PRESENTED 1. Was the work called for by Print Orders 80163 and 80164 within the scope of the Appellant's Program C384-S contract as written? If not, was there a course of dealing between the parties that require the contract to be interpreted as encompassing that work? 2. Is the Respondent equitably estopped from refusing to pay the Appellant in accordance with the Program C384-S pricing for the work done under Print Orders 80163 and 80164. 3. If the Respondent is not required to pay the Appellant in accordance with the Program C384-S contract pricing, did the Respondent properly determine the amount to which Appellant is entitled? IV. DISCUSSION At the outset, there are two points that should be noted. The first is that the Appellant does not challenge the Government's inherent and well-established right to recover payments that were made illegally or erroneously. See B & B Reproductions, supra, and cases cited therein. Rather, the Appellant's position is that there was nothing illegal or erroneous about the payments for Print Orders 80163 and 80164 and therefore the Respondent erred in recovering the $114,548.14. The second is that the Respondent's recovery of that amount represents a recoupment, which means that the Respondent has the burden of proving that it was entitled to a refund of the money it says was improperly paid to the contractor. B & B Reproductions, supra. A. Scope of Contract The Respondent's position is that NIH had no authority to issue Print Orders 80163 and 80164 because the marginally punched continuous forms called for by those print orders are not encompassed by the Program C384-S contract, while the Appellant's point is that it has a requirements contract for multiple part carbonless paper sets, "the products ordered and produced under Print Orders 80163 and 80164 are multiple part carbonless paper sets," App. Brf. at 5, and therefore the print orders are within the scope of its C384-S contract. The Appellant is literally correct with respect to the first two elements of its position-it has a requirements contract for multiple part carbonless paper sets, and on this record it is not disputed that the marginally punched forms produced pursuant to the print orders are multiple part carbonless sets. It is also true that even if the C384-S contract was not primarily intended for marginally punched continuous forms-a conclusion buttressed by the existence of the A1026-M program, which is intended for that type of product, HT 246; Resp. Brf. at 4; see Elgin Business Forms, Inc., GPOCAB 10-84 (October 19, 1984), slip. op., 1984 WL 148108; Industrial Printing Co., GPOCAB 07-83 (September 16, 1986), slip. op., 1986 WL 1815005-that would not mean that the forms could not be encompassed by the language of the contract itself. See Custom Printing Co., GPOCAB 2-79 (December 19, 1979), slip. op. at 9-10, 1979 WL 28895. The Board finds, however, that when Appellant's C384-S contract is read as a whole, it cannot be reasonably interpreted as encompassing the work called for by Print Orders 80163 and 80164. It is clear from the record that marginally punched continuous forms, and in particular the forms that were the subject of the print orders, while producible as multiple part carbonless paper sets, are very different from the type of forms covered by the C384 program. The specifications for that program describe paper sets that are "fan apart or equal," with the paper being joined into sets by means of "edge bonding" at the "edge" specified on individual print orders. There are also requirements for drilling ("It is anticipated that either 1/4" or 3/8" round holes will be required on top or left of some forms 1/4. Approximately 24% of the orders will drill.") and perforations (There will be an occasional order with either vertical and/or horizontal perforation."). Rule 4 File, Tab A at 4, 6, 7. The estimated requirement for perforations ("per 100 perfs"), used in the evaluation of bids leading to the award of the contract, was listed as "1." Rule 4 File, Tab A at 9. All of these requirements are inconsistent or incompatible with the ordered marginally punched continuous forms. First, the term "fan apart" refers to a method of joining carbonless paper with an adhesive made for that purpose. HT 306, 312-13; The Business Forms Handbook 564 (4th ed. 1990)(published by the National Business Forms Association) (fan apart glue is "special glue used in edge padding carbonless paper. Since this glue does not adhere to uncoated surfaces, individual sets can simply be 'fanned' apart."). The print orders did not call for fan apart joining or edge bonding with adhesive; they called for "crimping." Rule 4 File, Tabs E and F. Crimping is a very different method of joining6 that does not involve the use of any adhesive whatsoever and is the most commonly used temporary fastening method for continuous forms. The Business Forms Handbook, supra, at 149. (It is the only suitable method under the A1026-M contract. Gov. Exh. 2 at 12; see also GPO Form 1026b, Specifications for Marginally Punched Continuous Forms, Rule 4 File, Tab I.) The Appellant's C384-S contract makes no mention of crimping. In addition, the print orders require crimping on both the left and right margins; the C384-S contract refers to a single "edge" that is to be joined. Although the Appellant argues that the forms could have been glued instead of crimped without changing the product and that the failure to glue might simply justify a price reduction or reprint order, App. Brf. at 6, the contract's mandatory edge bonding requirement for all products produced under that contract and provision for single edge joining are simply inconsistent with a contract scope that would encompass marginally punched continuous forms for which crimping is the most common method of joining and which under these print orders were to be joined on two edges, not one. Second, by definition marginally punched continuous forms require holes punched, or drilled, in the margins, HT 310; The Business Forms Handbook, supra, at 389 et seq., and the print orders so required. The C384-S specifications anticipate holes on either the top or left, but not on both left and right. It is difficult to imagine why, if the C384-S contract were intended to encompass marginally punched continuous forms, it would not provide for left and right margin hole punching. Third, the C384-S contract anticipates an occasional order for perforating, and contains an estimate of one "100-perf" requirement for the entire term of the contract. While that estimate is not binding on either party to the contract and would not preclude orders that go beyond it, see Shepard Printing, GPOBCA 37-92 (January 28, 1994), slip. op., 1994 WL 275077, the Government is required to develop good faith, reasonable estimates based on all available information. Hero, Inc., 63 Comp. Gen. 117 (1983), 83-2 CPD ¶ 687; Shepard Printing, supra. Moreover, it is illegal to evaluate bids and award a contract on the basis of quantities other than what are anticipated to be ordered under the contract. Tennessee Valley Service Co., B-188771, July 20, 1977, 77-2 CPD ¶ 40. Although the Appellant's contract administrator testified that there had been "several jobs that required perforations in the past," HT 123, there has been no showing that those jobs required a high number of perforations or that the perforating estimate in the C384-S contract otherwise was not a reasonable estimate of what was anticipated for that contract. Accordingly, the Board believes that this estimate provides a strong indication that marginally punched continuous forms, which typically will be ordered with vertical perforations running the length of the form on both sides of the form as well as with a horizontal perforation to separate each form set, were not meant to be encompassed by the multiple part carbonless paper set contract. Based on the above alone, the Board has no difficulty in determining that the terms of the C384-S contract do not encompass the production of marginally punched continuous forms and concluding that Print Orders 80163 and 80164 are therefore outside the scope of that contract. That conclusion is further supported by resolution of the trim size issue. The Appellant's C384-S contract encompassed forms up to a maximum trim size of 8-1/2" x 11"; the print orders set forth a trim size of 8-1/2" x 11", but their attached specifications identified an "overall" size of 9-1/2" x 11". It is not disputed that the specifications refer to the size of the forms with the left and right, marginally punched, perforated stubs attached, and that with the removal of those 1/2" stubs the forms become 8-1/2" x 11". What is disputed is whether the maximum trim size set forth in the C384-S contract refers to the overall size of the forms or to the size of the forms after the stubs are detached. The Appellant says it "defined the 'trim size'1/4 as the detached size of the form, after removing the stubs," App. Brf. at 7, and refers to various continuous forms and "snap sets" that were produced under the contract with a measurement of 8-1/2" x 11" after removal of the stubs. The Respondent takes the opposite position, having elicited at the hearing testimony of the Contracting Officer and of Spurgeon Johnson, a GPO employee who qualified as an expert witness, to the effect that they consider the contract trim size to refer to the end product before removal of the stubs. HT 240-41, 266, 307, 309, 316-17. The C384-S contract does not define trim size. In the absence of such a definition or any evidence that something other than the term's ordinary meaning was intended, it is appropriate to view the term in accordance with its plain and ordinary meaning. Restatement (Second), Contracts § 202(3); George Hyman Constr. Co. v. United States, 832 F.2d 574 (Fed. Cir. 1987). The dictionary defines the term as "the actual size of something (as a magazine or book page) after excess material required in production has been cut off." Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1971). In other words, after excess paper required in production is trimmed off, the size of what has been produced is its trim size.7 When single sheet forms are ordered, what is produced in response as the end product to be delivered are the forms themselves. However, when forms are ordered as snap sets or as continuous forms with drilled and perforated left and right margins for use in continuous feed printers, the end products to be produced and delivered to meet the ordering agency's functional requirements are more than the basic forms-they are the forms along with the removable tabs or stubs that enable the agency to use the forms as intended. Thus, it is the entire snap set or continuous feed paper sets with perforated side strips, not just the forms, that constitute the end or final product. Any doubt as to whether the stubs are a part of the end product to be delivered under GPO contracts is easily assuaged by reference to GPO's specifications (which describe and prescribe what the delivered product shall be) and to contract actions taken to ensure compliance with those specifications. See, e.g., GPO Contract Terms, Solicitation Provisions, Supplemental Specifications, and Contract Clauses, GPO Publication 310.2 (Rev. 9-88), Supplemental Specifications, ¶ 13 ("Stub perforations must be such as to guarantee easy separation of all parts in one operation, but sufficient strength must be retained to prevent disengagement of any part under normal handling 1/4"); The Standard Register Co., GPOBCA 4-86 (October 28, 1987), slip. op., 1987 WL 228972 (continuous forms not fastened on the stub properly); Elgin Business Forms, Inc., supra (marginally punched forms not working properly on intended printer); Sturgis Newport Business Forms, GPOCAB 76-11 (April 27, 1977), slip. op., 1977 WL 25618 (misalignment of sprocket holes causing high speed printer jams). Obviously then, when marginally punched continuous forms are ordered, the delivered end product for which the contractor is responsible is the complete form with stubs attached, and it is to this complete form that the specified trim size applies. The Board therefore concludes that the Respondent's definition of trim size is correct and that the Appellant's definition, which appears to be based solely on previous print orders issued under the C384-S contract,8 is unreasonable. In interpreting a contract, the Board must give effect to the intention of the contracting parties at the time the contract was made, Hegeman-Harris & Co. v. United States, 440 F.2d 1009 (Ct. Cl. 1971); General Elec.Co., ASBCA 24913, 83-1 BCA ¶ 16,130, and to interpret the contract as a reasonably intelligent person would. Pacificorp Capital, Inc. v. United States, 25 Cl. Ct. 707 (1992), aff'd without op., 988 F.2d 130 (Fed. Cir. 1993); MPE Business Forms, Inc., supra; B & B Reproductions, supra. If the contract language is susceptible of more than one reasonable interpretation, the language is ambiguous. B & B Reproductions, supra, and cases cited therein. In such a case, under the rule of contra proferentum, the language will be construed against the drafter if the ambiguity is a latent one. Fry Comms. Inc./InfoConversion Joint Venture v. United States, 22 Cl. Ct. 497 (1991). The fact that the parties disagree as to the meaning of a contract does not mean, however, that the contract is ambiguous. International Business Investments, Inc. v. United States, 17 Cl. Ct. 122 (1989), aff'd without op., 895 F.2d 1421 (Fed. Cir. 1990). Such a disagreement simply requires that this Board examine the contract language and derive its own interpretation. MPE Business Forms, supra, at 36. Reading the C384-S contract as a whole and giving effect to all its provisions, and in light of the above comparison between the terms of the contract and the nature of marginally punched continuous forms as well as the specific requirements of Print Orders 80163 and 80164, the Board concludes that the contract is not ambiguous as to its scope, and that the only reasonable interpretation of this contract for multiple part carbonless paper sets as it was advertised, bid on, and executed is that the contract's scope did not extend to the forms that NIH ordered under those print orders. The Board is not persuaded otherwise by the Appellant's argument that its interpretation of the contract was reasonable in light of the prior course of dealing between United Computer Supplies and the Government. A prior course of dealing between the parties9 may establish the meaning of ambiguous contract language. Cresswell v. United States, 173 F. Supp. 805 (Ct. Cl. 1959); Dynaport Elecs., Inc., ASBCA 17895, 73-2 BCA ¶ 10,324. For example, where a contract is silent as to a particular matter, the prior course of dealing of the parties with respect to that matter can be used to establish the intention of the parties (unless a contrary intention had been manifested). Benning Aviation Corp., ASBCA 19850, 75-2 BCA ¶ 11, 355. In the present case, however, the Board finds no ambiguity as to the scope of the C384-S contract. The contract as written is neither silent nor otherwise ambiguous regarding its scope-as discussed above, its provisions are not compatible with the requirements of marginally punched continuous forms production and are inconsistent with the specification requirements of the print orders. Stated another way, the contract is not reasonably susceptible to an interpretation that brings within its scope the production of the marginally punched continuous forms ordered by Print Orders 80163 and 80164. In addition, the Appellant's argument must fail because it has not shown that the course of dealing was with GPO, the contracting agency. As stated by Professors Nash and Cibinic, "[t]he reasoning underlying the prior course of dealing rule requires that both parties have had actual knowledge of the prior course of dealing and of its significance to the contract. Clearly, it would be unreasonable to find that a party had agreed to a term of which it was not aware." John Cibinic, Jr. and Ralph C. Nash, Jr., Administration of Government Contracts 202 (Third ed. 1995). All authority to administer the C384-S contract, including interpreting its provisions and issuing modifications, was vested in GPO contracting officers. Rule 4 File, Tab D; HT 169; GPO Agency Procedure Handbook, GPO Publication 305.1, dated March 1987, Section IV, ¶ 2 (Gov. Exh. 1). Thus, any prior course of dealing relied on for contract interpretation purposes necessarily had to involve a GPO contracting officer or someone with authority to act on behalf of the contracting officer. Almost all of the elements of the prior course of dealing here, however, involved the placement of print orders with the Appellant by NIH. HT 53-57, 136-37; GPO contracting personnel were neither involved in nor aware of the placement of the orders and played no role in authorizing payment to the contractor.10 HT 235-36. B. Equitable Estoppel The Appellant argues that the Respondent is estopped under equitable estoppel principles from refusing to pay for perforations under Print Orders 80163 and 80164. The Appellant says the Respondent should be estopped because it "knew [that] trim size meant overall product size (as opposed to detached size) and that the pricing line item for perforations would apply only to horizontal perfs on snap sets" but "concealed" this knowledge "until long after" production of the forms in question. App. Brf. at 11. The Board dealt at length with the concept of equitable estoppel in B & B Reproductions, supra. We said there that equitable estoppel is a doctrine "invoked to avoid injustice in particular cases," and pointed out that estoppel arises when the following four conditions are met: (a) the Government knows or has reason to know the facts; (b) the Government either intends that its conduct or statements be acted upon or acts in such a manner as to give the contractor that impression; (c) the contractor must not have knowledge of the true facts known by the Government; and (d) the contractor detrimentally relies on the Government's conduct or statements." B & B Reproductions at 32 (citations omitted). We further pointed out the firmly established rule that before estoppel can come into play the contractor must show that the Government representative whose actions or statements form the basis for the estoppel must be shown to have acted within the scope of his or her authority, id. at 33, because "an estoppel against the Government cannot be based on the unauthorized actions of misrepresentations of its agents, or acts beyond the scope of their authority." Id. at 34 (citations omitted). The estoppel argument fails here. First, it is based on the same prior course of dealing discussed above, i.e., the prior ordering of forms greater than 8-12" x 11" and the payment for perforations under Print Orders 60159 and 60188. App. Brf. at 11-12. The Appellant, whose burden of proof in an estoppel case is "substantial," B & B Reproductions, supra, at 34, has not shown that anyone with contracting officer authority at GPO ordered those forms or knew of the ordering of such forms or authorized payment for the forms with any specific knowledge of exactly what forms were being produced. Moreover, even if it had been shown that Mr. Sebold's involvement in securing payment for perforation work on two earlier print orders for "snap-out" forms was binding on GPO such that it could give rise to an estoppel, in the Board's view the estoppel would not reach the marginally punched continuous forms ordered under Print Orders 80163 and 80164 because there has been absolutely no showing that Mr. Sebold intended his actions to be relied upon by the Contractor with regard to continuous forms or acted in such a manner as to give that impression. The testimony proffered by the Appellant establishes no more than some sort of intervention by Mr. Sebold with GPO's Financial Management Office that helped United Computer Supplies get paid for producing "snap out" forms that contained perforations. This is not sufficient to establish the estoppel argued for by the Appellant. C. Quantum Meruit/Quantum Valebant Since the Board agrees with the Respondent that the work called for by Print Orders 80163 and 80164 are not within the scope of the C384-S contract, the Board further agrees that the issuance of the print orders was beyond the scope of authority of the NIH employee who issued them and therefore did not give rise to a valid contract. Jascourt v. United States, 521 F.2d 1406 (Ct. Cl.), cert. denied, 423 U.S. 1032 (1975); Maintenance Serv. & Sales Corp., 70 Comp. Gen. 664 (1991). Since the Respondent therefore was not obligated to pay the Appellant pursuant to the C384-S contract pricing, the remaining question is whether the Respondent properly determined that the Appellant should be reimbursed at its A1026-M contract rates.11 When delivery of goods or services to the Government is not supported by a valid contract, the supplier may be paid nonetheless to avoid the obvious unfairness that would result if the Government keeps and makes use of the delivered goods or services without making payment for them. Acumenics Research & Tech., Inc.-Quantum Meruit payments, 67 Comp. Gen. 507 (1988), 88-2 CPD ¶ 15; Publishers Choice Book Mfg. Co., GPOBCA 04-84 (August 18, 1986), slip. op., 1986 WL 181457. Payment in such circumstances, on a quantum meruit/quantum valebant basis, may be made if the goods or services could have been the subject of a proper procurement, if the Government received a benefit, and if the supplier acted in good faith. 40 Comp. Gen. 447 (1961). When a supplier is paid on a quantum meruit/quantum valebant basis, the supplier is entitled to the reasonable value of the benefit provided rather than to the price it would have charged if the parties had entered into a valid contract. Cities Serv. Gas Co. v. United States, 500 F.2d 448 (Ct. Cl. 1974); 40 Comp. Gen. 447, supra. The Respondent agrees that the criteria for quantum meruit/quantum valebant payment are satisfied here, and asserts that the appropriate basis for determining the reasonable value of the forms delivered under the print orders is the Appellant's A1026-M contract, under which the work ordered by the print orders could have been performed. The Board finds no basis in the record to disagree. The Board notes that in New South Press & Assocs., GPOBCA 14-92 (January 31, 1996), slip. op., 1996 WL 112555, also involving an NIH "direct deal" requirements contract, the Board was unwilling to limit a contractor's termination for convenience settlement recovery for the cost of stripping and bluelines to the average costs for those items found in a general usage program (A814-M). In that case, however, the contractor's contention that the general usage program contemplated a high volume of work and therefore provided pricing that was artificially low for the work required by the terminated contract was not refuted. Moreover, there was no proof that the contractor was one of the at least 38 contractors on that program. The Board also noted that there were substantial differences between the type of work under the general usage program and the work under the terminated contract. Id. at 53 n.65. Here, the circumstances are very different: (1) the Appellant makes no assertion in its brief or other filings about the reasonableness of the Respondent's use of the A1026-M program;12 (2) the Appellant was a concurrent A1026-M program contractor and the Respondent utilized the Appellant's pricing, rather than an average of all contractor pricing found on that program; and (3) there is no difference between the work performed by the Appellant under the print orders and the work encompassed by the A1026-M program. Accordingly, in the absence of any evidence in the record calling into question the Respondent's reliance on the A1026-M pricing, the Board concludes that the Respondent properly determined that $8,436.51 for Print Order 80163 and $5,380.96 for Print Order 80164 represented the reasonable value of what was furnished to the Government under those orders. ORDER The Board finds and concludes, after careful consideration of the record, that the Appellant's C384- S contract, when read in its entirety, is not ambiguous as to its scope, that marginally punched continuous forms are not encompassed by that scope, that the Appellant has not sustained its burden of proof with regard to estoppel, and that the Respondent has met its burden to establish its entitlement to recoup $114,548.30 from the Appellant. Therefore, the final decision of the Contracting Officer is AFFIRMED and the appeal is DENIED. It is so Ordered. January 23, 1998 Ronald Berger Ad Hoc Chairman GPO Board of Contract Appeals _______________ 1 The Contracting Officer's appeal file, assembled pursuant to Rule 4 of the Board's Rules of Practice and Procedure, was delivered to the Board on August 24, 1994. It will be referred to hereafter as the Rule 4 File, with an appropriate Tab letter also indicated. The Rule 4 File originally consisted of 11 documents identified as Tab A through Tab K; Tabs L through V, documents furnished by Appellant, were added at the Appellant's request at a prehearing conference held on December 13, 1994. Report of Prehearing Conference, dated February 13, 1995, at 5 n.3. These Tabs were consolidated into Tabs L through T at the hearing held in this matter on February 14, 1995. Hearing Transcript 344-5. Exhibits entered into evidence at the hearing will be referred to as App. Exh. No. and Gov. Exh. No., respectively, followed by an appropriate number. 2 The Board's decision is based on: (a) Appellant's undated Notice of Appeal; (b) the Rule 4 File; (c) the Appellant's undated Complaint received by the Board on August 30, 1994; (d) the Respondent's Answer dated September 27, 1994; (e) Report of Prehearing Conference dated February 13, 1995; (f) the undated Appellant's Brief filed on March 27, 1995 (hereinafter App. Brf).; (g) Respondent's Brief dated March 31, 1995 (hereinafter Resp. Brf.); (h) Appellant's Reply Memorandum filed on April 18, 1995 (hereinafter App. R. Mem.); (i) Respondent's Reply Brief dated April 14, 1995 (hereinafter R.R. Brf.); (j) Hearing Transcript of the hearing held on February 14, 1995 (hereinafter HT). 3 See Swanson Printing Co., GPOBCA 27-94 and 27A-94 (November 18, 1996), slip. op. at 4, n.9, 1996 WL 81295 , and B & B Reproductions, GPOBCA 09-89 (June 30, 1995), slip. op. at 3, n.5, 1995 WL 488447, for a further description of this type of arrangement. 4 In so determining, the Contracting Officer referred to the print order specification sheet requirements for 9-1/2" x 11" marginally punched continuous forms that would be "crimp joined, file punched and perforated 1/2" left and right, with a horizontal tearline perforation every 11"." He concluded in his final decision that "[a]ll of these items were clearly out of the scope of the contract specifications." Rule 4 File, Tab J. 5 Prior to the creation of this Board in 1984, ad hoc panels heard and decided disputes between GPO and its contractors. The Board cites the decisions of these ad hoc panels as GPOCAB. See Rose Printing, Inc., GPOBCA 32-95 (December 16, 1996), slip. op. at 27, n.28, 1996 WL 812880 6 Crimping involves the cutting of small paper prongs or fingers in the margin of the form, which hold the paper together during processing and allow easy separation. The Business Forms Handbook, supra, at 107, 149. 7 Although the Board does not rely on the descriptions and definitions of trim size found in forms industry publications, since the Board has taken the position that such references are irrelevant to the intended meaning of a contract term when the contract does not incorporate those publications, MPE Business Forms, Inc., GPOBCA 10-95 (August 16, 1996), slip. op. at 49 n.45, 1996 WL 812877, those descriptions and definitions are consistent with the dictionary definition. For example, as one publication describes it, "[m]ost press runs use paper slightly larger that the finished piece or print several items on one large sheet. Waste must be cut away and items cut apart from each other?. Job specifications should include trim size as exact measurements of the final products?." Mark Beach, Steve Shepro, and Ken Russon, Getting it Printed 150 (1986). In another publication, produced in collaboration with the Graphic Communications Association, Affiliate of Printing Industries of America, Inc., "trim size" is defined as an alternate term for "finished size", which in turn is defined as the "[s]ize of product after production is complete?." Mark Beach, Graphically Speaking 98, 253 (1992). 8 While there is little doubt from this record that forms measuring greater than 8-1/2" x 11" before stub removal were produced under the C384-S contract, that does not establish that forms of that size were properly ordered under the contract. In this regard, there is no evidence that a GPO contracting officer was aware that orders for such work were placed by NIH under this "direct contact" contract or in some way acquiesced in the Appellant's interpretation of the trim size specification. See infra p. 16. 9 The Respondent argues that there can be no prior course of dealing here because the Contractor is a joint venture and thus is not the party with which any prior dealings took place. One who is not a party to a prior course of dealing cannot always rely on that prior dealing as support for its interpretation of disputed contract provisions. See, e.g., Southwest Welding & Mfg. Co., 513 F.2d 639 (Ct. Cl. 1975); Atlas Fabricators, Inc., ASBCA 17556, 75-2 BCA ¶ 11, 350. This is not an absolute rule, however. See Hamilton Enters., ASBCA 21951, 78-2 BCA ¶ 13,242, where a contractor's reliance on an agency's course of dealing with a prior contractor was held to justify the current contractor's interpretation of contract terms, and Wheatley Assocs., ASBCA 24760, 83-2 BCA ¶ 16,760, recognizing that subcontractors could rely on a course of dealing between the prime contractor and the Government. Here the alleged course of dealing on which the Appellant, UCSJV, relies involved United Computer Supplies, the joint venture's "lead contractor, responsible for all dealings with the Government, all contract administration, and ?directing other joint venture[r]s regarding the production of the work." App. R. Memo (with joint venture agreement attached). In light of the prominent role of United Computer Supplies in the joint venture operation, particularly its exclusive dealings with the Government on behalf on the joint venture, the Board does not agree that the Appellant should be precluded from raising this argument. 10 On one occasion United Computer Supplies did contact GPO because the GPO Office of Financial Management had refused to pay certain charges on two print orders (60159 and 60188) issued under the C384-S contract. These charges were primarily for perforations. App. Exh. 10 and 11. According to United Computer Supplies' contracts administrator, Thomas Edwards, he called Michael Sebold, whom he identified as GPO's contract administrator for the C384-S contract (Mr. Sebold is listed in the contract as the person to call "information of a technical nature." Rule 4 File, Tab A), and asked why he wasn't getting paid for the perforations. HT 68. According to Mr. Edwards, Mr. Sebold called "Finance" and then advised him to fax information about the two print orders to the Finance Office. Mr. Edwards did so and was subsequently paid the amounts in question. HT 69-70. This occurred in December 1992 (Mr. Edwards' fax is dated December 18). This limited involvement of GPO personnel is insufficient to establish a prior course of dealing between GPO and the Appellant upon which the Appellant could rely. First, there is no evidence in the record concerning Mr. Sebold's authority to act on behalf of the contracting officer. Second, the two print orders were for "snap-out" forms, not for marginally punched continuous forms. Third, it appears that the payment problem originated not because GPO was questioning whether the ordered forms or the perforation work came within the scope of the contract, but because the print orders did not explicitly call for perforations. App. Exh. 10 and 11. (In his fax, Mr. Edwards explained why perforations were necessary. App. Exh. 9.) Fourth, this occurred after the Appellant was awarded the C384-S contract for 1992-93, under which the print orders involved in this appeal were issued. In these circumstances, the Board cannot view Mr. Sebold's actions as establishing a prior course of dealing regarding the scope of the C384-S contract. 11 Although the Board determined this to be an issue in this appeal, Report of Prehearing Conference at 6, the Appellant did not address it in its brief, choosing instead to argue exclusively that it is entitled to be paid in accordance with its C384-S contract pricing. 12 Mr. Edwards testified that the A1026-M contract is "a very large volume contract" (albeit one that did not require him to accept any particular print order), but did not refer to the relationship between the pricing on the two contracts. HT 99-101.