Day v. United States - 245 U.S. 159 (1917)
U.S. Supreme Court
Day v. United States, 245 U.S. 159 (1917)
Day v. United States
Argued November 13, 1917
Decided November 26, 1917
245 U.S. 159
Modern tendencies to depart from the strict letter in discovering intent do not alter the principle that, within the scope of his undertaking, a party contracting assumes the risks of intervening obstacles.
A contractor agreed with the United States to furnish, at specified rates, such labor and material in place as might be necessary to complete a canal and locks, already built in part, the total payment not to exceed a sum fixed in acts of Congress authorizing the contract. The government had erected a bulkhead, deemed of sufficient height, to safeguard the work from river floods; the contract, however, did not guarantee protection, referring to freshets and other natural causes merely as grounds for time extension. The contractor had been required to base his proposal upon personal investigation, and the specifications provided that he should be held responsible, without expense to the government, for the preservation and good condition of the work already in place, and that to be added from time to time under the contract, until the contract should be terminated or the whole work turned over in a completed condition as required. To protect the work from an extraordinary flood which exceeded the bulkhead, the contractor necessarily expended work and materials in building new structures, for which he sought reimbursement in the Court of Claims. Held that the contract was for the completion of the works, and that the cost of protecting them from floods in the meantime was within the contractor's undertaking.
48 Ct.Clms. 128; 50 id. 421, affirmed.
The case is stated in the opinion.