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Ridge Runner Forestry v. Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
287 F.3d 1058 (2002)


Facts

Ridge Runner Forestry (RRF) (plaintiff), a fire protection company, responded to a request for quotations (RFQ) issued by the Forestry Service (defendant), which is part of the United States Department of Agriculture. After its submission, RRF executed the Pacific Northwest Interagency Engine Tender Agreement (Tender Agreement). The Tender Agreement provided, in bold type, that the award of an equipment rental contract based on the RFQ would not prevent the government from using any other resources and that an award would also not guarantee any need for equipment or the placement of orders. The Tender Agreement further provided that the contractor was to furnish the equipment requested to the extent that it was “willing and able” to do so at the time of order. RRF signed Tender Agreements in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999. In 1999, it brought a claim to the contracting officer for $180,000, in which it contended that the Forestry Service had violated the “implied duty of good faith and fair dealing” by intentionally preventing RRF from providing services to the government. The contracting officer told RRF that she lacked authority to decide the claim, and RRF filed an appeal with the Department of Agriculture Board of Contract Appeals (Board of Appeals). The government moved to dismiss the claim, asserting that the Board of Appeals lacked statutory jurisdiction to hear it under the Contract Disputes Act because no contract had been entered into. The Board of Appeals agreed and dismissed the claim. RRF appealed.

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