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2 min read

Examining Allegations of Breach: Sage vs. HUD Contract Dispute at CBCA

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In the world of business and government contracts, disputes and breaches can lead to lengthy legal battles with far-reaching consequences. Such is the case with Sage Acquisitions LLC (Sage) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who currently find themselves embroiled in a complex contract dispute. At the heart of this dispute lies the termination of three contracts and allegations of breach concerning a related bridge contract.

To resolve these contentious matters, parties turn to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA), an important decision-making body specializing in contract disputes and appeals. The CBCA, consisting of experienced administrative judges, possesses the authority to hear and render rulings in cases involving federal government contracts.

This article delves into the details of the case and the subsequent rulings by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) that ultimately denied Sage's appeal. Throughout our examination of this case, we will uncover the essential legal interpretations, the strategic maneuvers of the parties involved, and the weight of evidence presented to the CBCA.

Bid Protest and Allegations of Breach: Sage's Contentions Against HUD

In their second appeal before the CBCA (Civilian Board of Contract Appeals), Sage continued to assert that HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) breached the bridge contract by diverting inventory to other programs. Despite facing dismissal initially due to a lack of jurisdiction, Sage's persistence led to their second appeal being considered.

The three contracts in question were indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts, which outlined a guaranteed minimum requirement for HUD's obligations. Sage's argument rested upon the claim that HUD had significantly reduced the scope of properties assigned to the IDIQ contracts, which resulted in them submitting requests for equitable adjustments (REAs). These REAs aimed to compensate for the alleged deviation from the guaranteed minimum obligations outlined in the contracts. However, HUD denied all three REAs, maintaining that the guaranteed minimum had been fulfilled.

Undeterred by HUD's denial, Sage raised allegations of breach of the bridge contract during a bid protest. They contended that HUD's actions of diverting inventory to other programs constituted a breach of their agreement. However, the CBCA found that Sage was already aware of HUD's evolving policies when they entered into the bridge contract. Therefore, the board denied Sage's appeal on the grounds that they could not hold HUD liable for breaching an agreement that Sage had knowledge of.

Seeking restitution, Sage then submitted a Termination for Convenience (TSP) for the termination of the three contracts. However, HUD promptly denied Sage's TSP, leading Sage to escalate the matter further before the CBCA.

Initially dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, Sage's persistence drove them to pursue their matter, resulting in a second appeal being heard. This demonstrates Sage's unwavering determination to seek justice and obtain a favorable outcome in their case against HUD.

CBCA Review of Sage's Claims and Appeals Process

The CBCA scrutinized Sage's claims and appeals, which included a certified claim submitted on September 28, 2021, and the denial of the claim by the contracting officer on January 31, 2022. Sage sought a total of $11,940,144 in settlement costs, including $3,149,926 for termination for convenience settlement costs and additional compensation of $8,790,218 related to HUD's alleged changes and breaches.

After a meticulous review, the CBCA arrived at a series of significant determinations. Firstly, it was established that the contracts under scrutiny were IDIQ contracts, as opposed to requirements contracts. In addition, the CBCA definitively affirmed that HUD had indeed fulfilled the guaranteed minimum requirement stipulated by these contracts. As a result, the CBCA ruled that Sage was not entitled to the termination settlement expenses they were seeking.

The CBCA denied all four of Sage's REAs, dismissing allegations of constructive changes, excess reimbursable costs, illegal exercise of the second option period, and breach of the bridge contract. Despite Sage's arguments, the CBCA did not uncover any evidence supporting their claims.

Related: read more about the Contract Disputes Act.