US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
TEG- Paradigm Environmental, INC. v United States (HUD)
Issue: Whether the contract specifications or TEG’s work plan controlled the terms of TEG’s contract performance in regards to standards for asbestos removal.
Rule: “”The language of the contract must be given that meaning that would be derived from the contract by a reasonably intelligent person acquainted with the contemporaneous circumstances””. Trade practice and custom may not be used “to create an ambiguity where a contract was not reasonably susceptible of differing interpretations at the time of contracting.” Metric Constructors169 F.3d at 747, 752. Under the parol evidence rule, extrinsic evidence pre-dating a written agreement …show more content…
v United States (HUD)
Issue: The level of asbestos abatement required by the contract and the standards to be used.
Rule: Asbestos containing materials applied to concrete, masonry, wood and non-porous surfaces, including, but not limited to , steel structural members (decks, beams and columns), pipes and tanks, shall be cleaned to a degree that no traces of debris or residue are visible by the Observation Services Contractor. “”The language of the contract must be given that meaning that would be derived from the contract by a reasonably intelligent person acquainted with the contemporaneous circumstances””. Metric Constructors169 F.3d at 747, 752
Application: The modification, by the government, of the above statement removes all ambiguity from the previous wording. Prior to the modification it was stated that for non-friable materials it was acceptable to leave asbestos containing materials in the pores and cracks. The government, through its modification, increased the standard so that no visible asbestos containing materials can be left on anything. This standard carries over to any visible debris and residue. The language is clear and any reasonably intelligent person can understand it. This change is also in line with the trade practice and customs of the asbestos abatement