B-201781 L/M, APR 7, 1981

B-201781 L/M: Apr 7, 1981

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YOU REQUEST CLARIFICATION AS TO WHETHER OUR DECISION WOULD PRECLUDE YOUR DIVISION FROM ISSUING INSTRUCTIONS PERMITTING EXECUTIVE AGENCIES TO SETTLE QUANTUM MERUIT/QUANTUM VALEBANT (QM/QV) CLAIMS IN WHICH THERE ARE "NO DOUBTFUL QUESTIONS OF LAW OR FACT.". THE DECISION WAS NOT INTENDED TO LIMIT OR EXPAND THE CATEGORY OF CASES WHICH HAVE TRADITIONALLY BEEN REFERRED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. WHERE AND TO THE EXTENT THAT CONTRACTING OFFICIALS HAVE RATIFICATION AUTHORITY AND THERE IS INDEED NO DOUBTFUL QUESTION OF LAW OR FACT. WHERE CONTRACTING OFFICIALS DO NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO RATIFY A PARTICULAR TRANSACTION OR ARRANGEMENT. OR WHERE THERE IS SOME DOUBTFUL LEGAL OR FACTUAL QUESTION. WHERE THERE IS NO DOUBT OF A CONTRACTING OFFICER'S AUTHORITY TO RATIFY.

B-201781 L/M, APR 7, 1981

SUBJECT: B-201781, SETTLEMENT OF QUANTUM MERUIT/QUANTUM VALEBANT CLAIMS

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, AFMD - CLAIMS GROUP - DANIEL P. LEARY:

WE REFER TO YOUR MEMORANDUM OF JANUARY 12, 1981 CONCERNING OUR DECISION, CONTRACT DISPUTES ACT OF 1978, 59 COMP.GEN. 232 (1980), 80-1 CPD 79. SPECIFICALLY, YOU REQUEST CLARIFICATION AS TO WHETHER OUR DECISION WOULD PRECLUDE YOUR DIVISION FROM ISSUING INSTRUCTIONS PERMITTING EXECUTIVE AGENCIES TO SETTLE QUANTUM MERUIT/QUANTUM VALEBANT (QM/QV) CLAIMS IN WHICH THERE ARE "NO DOUBTFUL QUESTIONS OF LAW OR FACT."

THE DECISION WAS NOT INTENDED TO LIMIT OR EXPAND THE CATEGORY OF CASES WHICH HAVE TRADITIONALLY BEEN REFERRED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THUS, WHERE AND TO THE EXTENT THAT CONTRACTING OFFICIALS HAVE RATIFICATION AUTHORITY AND THERE IS INDEED NO DOUBTFUL QUESTION OF LAW OR FACT, QM/QV CLAIMS MAY BE SETTLED BY THE EXECUTIVE AGENCIES. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHERE CONTRACTING OFFICIALS DO NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO RATIFY A PARTICULAR TRANSACTION OR ARRANGEMENT, OR WHERE THERE IS SOME DOUBTFUL LEGAL OR FACTUAL QUESTION, THE MATTER SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE REFERRED TO GAO.

THUS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE THERE IS NO DOUBT OF A CONTRACTING OFFICER'S AUTHORITY TO RATIFY, BOTH WITH RESPECT TO HIS/HER SPECIFIC GRANT OF AUTHORITY AND TO THE OTHERWISE PROPER, E.G., STATUTORILY AUTHORIZED, NATURE OF THE TRANSACTION, AND THERE IS SIMILARLY NO QUESTION AS TO APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY, THE MATTER NEED NOT BE REFERRED TO GAO. HOWEVER, WHERE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE GOVERNMENT HAS RECEIVED A BENEFIT THROUGH THE PROVISION OF SERVICES BUT CONTRACTING OFFICIALS CANNOT RATIFY BECAUSE IT WOULD RESULT IN AN UNJUSTIFIABLE SOLE-SOURCE CONTRACT, THE MATTER CANNOT BE PAID ON A QM/QV BASIS BY THE AGENCY, BUT MUST BE REFERRED HERE FOR SETTLEMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, AGENCIES MAY BE INSTRUCTED THAT THEY MAY SETTLE QM/QV CLAIMS ADMINISTRATIVELY, BUT ONLY IF THE MATTER IS WITHIN THEIR EXISTING AUTHORITY TO SETTLE AND DOES NOT INVOLVE ANY DOUBTFUL QUESTION OF FACT OR LAW.

DIGEST

EXECUTIVE AGENCIES MAY ADMINISTRATIVELY SETTLE QUANTUM MERUIT/QUANTUM VALEBANT CLAIMS SO LONG AS MATTER IS WITHIN THEIR EXISTING SETTLEMENT AUTHORITY AND DOES NOT INVOLVE ANY DOUBTFUL QUESTIONS OF LAW OR FACT.

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