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Silence = Acquiescence: Government Stuck with Contractor’s Interpretation that was Provided with its Proposal

March 18, 2020

On February 7, 2020, the ASBCA sustained the appeal of Command Languages, Inc. d/b/a CLI Solutions (CLI) against the Army over increased costs to translate technical manuals. CLI contracted with the Army to translate advanced level armored vehicle maintenance manuals for use by the Afghanistan Army. The advanced level manuals included tasks from basic level manuals, but CLI only incorporated these tasks by reference – the tasks themselves were not translated. CLI and the Army disagreed over whether contract language stating that the basic manuals were provided to the contractor as government furnished information (GFI) “for reference” permitted CLI to incorporate information from them by reference. The Board found that CLI’s contract interpretation was reasonable, given that CLI notified the Army of its intent to use this reference-only approach and provided sample manuals, and the Army had no objections to this approach prior to performance. The Board pointed out that the contract gave CLI the option to utilize GFI in the “most effective” manner of its choosing when creating the advanced manuals, and there was no contract language prohibiting CLI’s method. The Board also found that the Army did not challenge CLI’s approach until after performance started. 

For more information, please contact the professional(s) listed below, or your regular Crowell & Moring contact.

Nicole Owren-Wiest
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2863
Skye Mathieson
Partner – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.624.2606
Michelle D. Coleman
Counsel – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.654.6708
Catherine O. Shames
Associate – Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1.202.688.3446