United States v. Cook
257 U.S. 523 (1922)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Cook, 257 U.S. 523 (1922)

United States v. Cook

No. 80

Argued January 13, 1922

Decided February 2, 1922

257 U.S. 523

Syllabus

Claimants contracted with the government to plan and supervise the construction of a public building for a fee, to be paid on monthly estimates and final completion, of 5 percent of the actual cost of the work executed from their drawing and specifications and under their supervision, as shown upon the books of the Supervising Architect by the net amount of construction contracts

Page 257 U. S. 524

awarded and proposals accepted for additions or deductions. The building was delayed by an earthquake and fire, and Congress made an additional appropriation to be paid the building contractor upon its completion to recoup him for actually resulting losses due to increased prices of labor and materials, denying him any profit under his contract, and this extra payment was shown on the book of the Supervising Architect, but no appropriation was made for the claimants, although they had suffered likewise, and had applied to Congress unsuccessfully.

Held:

(1) The allowance to the building contractor was not a gratuity, but an alteration of his contract based on a moral consideration. P. 257 U. S. 526.

(2) Claimants were entitled to their percentage on the additional amount so paid, since their equity was equally as strong and the words of their contract permitted. P. 257 U. S. 528.

55 Ct.Clms. 215 affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Claims upholding a claim of architects for fees under a contract with the United States.

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