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William Cramp & Sons Co. v. United States, 216 U.S. 494 (1910)

William Cramp and Sons Ship and

Engine Building Company v. United States

No. 92

Argued January 19, 20, 1910

Decided February 28, 1910

216 U.S. 494


Executive officers are not authorized to entertain and settle claims for unliquidated damages.

The Secretary of the Navy had power under the Acts of June 10, 1896, c. 361, 29 Stat. 378, authorizing the building of the Alabama, and of August 3, 1886, c. 849, 24 Stat. 215, to make a change in the terms of the contract requiring a final release to be given so that such release should not include claims arising under the contract which he did not have jurisdiction to entertain, and under a proviso in the release to that effect, the contractors are not barred from

Page 216 U. S. 495

prosecuting their claim before the Court of Claims for unliquidated damages.

In this case, a provision in a government contract having been treated by both parties as impracticable, and therefore waived, the Secretary had power to change the terms of the release required by the contract, and leave the claims of the contractor to be presented to the Court of Claims. Cramp & Sons v. United States, 206 U. S. 118, distinguished.

Under the Tucker Act, the Court of Claims has jurisdiction of a claim for unliquidated damages under a contract for building a war vessel where a release had been given by the Secretary of the Navy with a proviso that it does not include claims arising under the contract other than those of which the Secretary has jurisdiction.

43 Ct.Cl. 202 reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 216 U. S. 498

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