Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ridge Runner Forestry v. Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture case brief

Ridge Runner Forestry v. Ann M. Veneman, Secretary of Agriculture case brief summary
287 F.3d 1058 (2002)

Appellant fire protection company challenged the decision of the Department of Agriculture Board of Contract Appeals dismissing its cause of action for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to 41 U.S.C.S. §§ 601-613.

In response to a request for quotations issued by the forestry service, the company submitted a proposal and ultimately signed a tender agreement. Later, the company presented a claim alleging that the forestry service had violated an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing because the company had been systematically excluded from providing services to the government. The board granted the government's motion to dismiss, concluding that because no contract had been entered into, it lacked jurisdiction under the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C.S. §§ 601-613.


  • On appeal, the company argued the agreement was a binding contract that placed specific obligations upon the government. 
  • The appellate court determined the agreement was nothing but an illusory promise. 
  • The appellate court noted the agreement contained no clause limiting the government's options for firefighting services; the government merely "promised" to consider using the company for firefighting services. 
  • Also, the agreement placed no obligation upon the company. 
  • If the government came calling, the company "promised" to provide the requested equipment only if it was "willing and able."

The appellate court affirmed the board's decision.

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