23 CFR § 635.124 - Participation in contract claim awards and settlements.

§ 635.124 Participation in contract claim awards and settlements.

(a) The eligibility for and extent of Federal-aid participation up to the Federal statutory share in a contract claim award made by a State to a Federal-aid contractor on the basis of an arbitration or mediation proceeding, administrative board determination, court judgment, negotiated settlement, or other contract claim settlement shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. Federal funds will participate to the extent that any contract adjustments made are supported, and have a basis in terms of the contract and applicable State law, as fairly construed. Further, the basis for the adjustment and contractor compensation shall be in accord with prevailing principles of public contract law.

(b) The FHWA shall be made aware by the State DOT of the details of the claim at an early stage so that coordination of efforts can be satisfactorily accomplished. It is expected that State DOTs will diligently pursue the satisfactory resolution of claims within a reasonable period of time. Claims arising on exempt non-NHS projects should be processed in accordance with the State's approved Stewardship Plan.

(c) When requesting Federal participation, the State DOT shall set forth in writing the legal and contractual basis for the claim, together with the cost data and other facts supporting the award or settlement. Federal-aid participation in such instances shall be supported by a State DOT audit of the actual costs incurred by the contractor unless waived by the FHWA as unwarranted. Where difficult, complex, or novel legal issues appear in the claim, such that evaluation of legal controversies is critical to consideration of the award or settlement, the State DOT shall include in its submission a legal opinion from its counsel setting forth the basis for determining the extent of the liability under local law, with a level of detail commensurate with the magnitude and complexity of the issues involved.

(d) In those cases where the State DOT receives an adverse decision in an amount more than the State DOT was able to support prior to the decision or settles a claim in an amount more than the State DOT can support, the FHWA will participate up to the appropriate Federal matching share, to the extent that it involves a Federal-aid participating portion of the contract, provided that:

(1) The FHWA was consulted and concurred in the proposed course of action;

(2) All appropriate courses of action had been considered; and

(3) The State DOT pursued the case diligently and in a professional manner.

(e) Federal funds will not participate:

(1) If it has been determined that State DOT employees, officers, or agents acted with gross negligence, or participated in intentional acts or omissions, fraud, or other acts not consistent with usual State practices in project design, plan preparation, contract administration, or other activities which gave rise to the claim;

(2) In such cost items as consequential or punitive damages, anticipated profit, or any award or payment of attorney's fees paid by a State to an opposing party in litigation; and

(3) In tort, inverse condemnation, or other claims erroneously styled as claims “under a contract.”

(f) Payment of interest associated with a claim will be eligible for participation provided that the payment to the contractor for interest is allowable by State statute or specification and the costs are not a result of delays caused by dilatory action of the State or the contractor. The interest rates must not exceed the rate provided for by the State statute or specification.

(g) In cases where State DOT's affirmatively recover compensatory damages through contract claims, cross-claims, or counter claims from contractors, subcontractors, or their agents on projects on which there was Federal-aid participation, the Federal share of such recovery shall be equivalent to the Federal share of the project or projects involved. Such recovery shall be credited to the project or projects from which the claim or claims arose.

[56 FR 37004, Aug. 2, 1991, as amended at 62 FR 6873, Feb. 14, 1997; 69 FR 7118, Feb. 13, 2004]