The Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA) held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider a contractor’s appeal regarding the U.S. Navy’s denial of a breach of contract claim because the contractor’s claim failed to allege damages in a “sum certain” as required by the Contract Disputes Act. Rex Systems, Inc., ASBCA No. 54436, Nov. 6, 2007. In its claim to the Navy for alleged unauthorized use of the company’s drawings for a receiver transmitter component, the contractor identified damages as “at a minimum . . . 15% of the value of all transactions” made possible by any such use, plus “any unjust enrichment earned by the Government.” The ASBCA concluded that “[f]ifteen percent ‘at a minimum,’ is not a specific percentage. It is 15 percent or more.” The ASBCA further noted that the phrase “at a minimum” is indistinguishable from the modifying phrases “no less than,” “not less than,” and “in excess of,” which the board has previously found to disqualify a stated amount as a sum certain. The ASBCA also stated that there was a complete absence in the claim of any quantification of the “unjust enrichment” to which the contractor claimed it was entitled. The board therefore dismissed the appeal.
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