Claims begin under the Disputes Act; typically when a change occurs or a Request for Equitable Adjustment is denied by the Contracting Officer. The contractor should then obtain advice on four (4) options available: (1) File a claim with the Contracting Officer, (2) File a claim in the Court of Federal Claims, (3) File a claim on the Boards of Contract Appeals, or (4) do nothing.

The Court of Federal Claims has special jurisdiction, spelled out in 28 U.S.C. § 1491: it hears claims for money that arise from an express or implied in fact contract with the United States Government, most notably under the Tucker Act.

The court has concurrent jurisdiction involving contracts with the federal government, where a contractor has the option of choosing between filing suit with the court or with the agency Board of Contract Appeals. The general rule is that a contractor may either 1) file suit within 90 days with the agency Board of Contract Appeals or 2) file suit within one year with the court. A contractor, however, must choose which forum in which to file; a contractor cannot file suit with both the agency Board and with the court. (However, in a case where a contractor has filed with the Board, and the Government challenges the timeliness of the filing — the 90-day limit is statutory and cannot be extended — the contractor can file with the court within the one-year period to protect its claim)

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