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SALIGMAN v. UNITED STATES

August 25, 1944

SALIGMAN et al.
v.
UNITED STATES



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KALODNER

The plaintiffs have brought this action against the United States of America under the Tucker Act, 36 Stat. 1093 (1911) as amended, 28 U.S.C.A. ยง 41(20). The sole question for determination is whether the plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages for their unilateral mistake in the preparation of a bid contract accepted by the United States and now fully performed.

The cause was heard without a jury and was submitted for consideration upon the pleadings, additional testimony and arguments of counsel. Accordingly, I make the following

 Findings of Fact

 1.On or about February 12, 1942, in response to an invitation sent out by the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot to bid for the award of a contract for the manufacture of 55,900 head bands, plaintiffs submitted their bid to be awarded this contract, in accordance with the specifications contained in the invitation, at a unit price of $ .164 per head band, containing 50% foreign wool and 50% domestic wool.

 2. On February 14, 1942, plaintiffs' bid was accepted by the Quartermaster Depot, which, on that date, issued Purchase Order No. 6773 awarding the contract to plaintiffs.

 3. The next highest bids were $ .222 and $ .2487 per unit, both for all domestic wool.

 4. About two weeks after the acceptance of their contract and before they had begun work thereunder, plaintiffs discovered that in computing the cost for the manufacture of the head bands prior to the submission of their bid they had omitted the cost of the wool to be used, which amounted to approximately $ .125 per head band, and immediately notified, by telephone, the Quartermaster Depot of this error.

 5. Plaintiffs' aforesaid telephone call was transferred to the Legal Department of the Quartermaster Depot and they were advised that they could either refuse to perform and be held accountable in damages, or complete the contract and make claim for adjustment.

 6. On February 28, 1942, plaintiffs wrote to the Quartermaster Depot explaining the error made and setting forth the alternatives which the Legal Department of the Quartermaster Depot had advised were open to them, and stating that they intended to perform the contract and file claim for relief.

 7. Under date of March 4, 1942, the Quartermaster Depot replied that the claim should be addressed to the Comptroller General. Plaintiffs acted accordingly. Their claim was rejected by the Comptroller General.

 8. Plaintiffs have completed the contract and in fact manufactured 62,340 head bands.

 9. The mistake of plaintiffs was unilateral.


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