UNITED STATES V. SMITH, 256 U. S. 11 (1921)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Smith, 256 U.S. 11 (1921)

United States v. Smith

No. 253

Argued March 22, 23, 1921

Decided April 11, 1921

256 U.S. 11


1. In the performance of a contract with the United States for the excavation of a channel to specified depths, under attached specifications describing the materials to be removed as clay, sand, gravel, and boulders in unknown proportions, deposits consisting largely of limestone were encountered, the removal of which entailed an expense per cubic yard much exceeding the price fixed by the contract

Page 256 U. S. 12

for the materials therein specified. The engineer officer in charge of the work arbitrarily classified these deposits with the materials described by the specifications, ignored the protest of the contractors and their request that a new price be fixed therefor, and required them to proceed under threats that otherwise they would be declared in default and the work taken from them and completed, and the cost recouped from the retained percentages of their pay already earned and through legal proceedings against themselves and their sureties. Held that clauses in the contract making decisions of the officer as to quantity and quality of work final, requiring the contractors to observe his instructions, and denying an claim for modification of the work not agreed to, or expressly required, in writing were inapplicable, and that the contractors were entitled to recover from the United States the cost of excavating the material not covered by the contract. P. 256 U. S. 15.

2. Contractors with the United States held entitled to recover the amount of a loss due to delays of the engineer in charge in locating the places where they should work. P. 256 U. S. 17.

54 Ct.Clms. 119 affirmed.

Appeal from a Judgment against the United States for loss suffered by contractors in performing work not covered by their contract, under the arbitrary exaction of the official in charge, and for loss due to his delay in locating the places where work was to be done. The facts are stated in the opinion.

Page 256 U. S. 14

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