a final release. On January 21, 1961, Blaser 'approved' the final voucher as the 'Director of Buildings and Grounds' and 'Contracting Officer.' On January 31, 1961, the voucher was paid by check. In another affidavit prepared for this case, Blaser says that this 'voucher for miscellaneous payments' is 'the final voucher in connection with settlement of the obligations of the District of Columbia to B. F. Rodney Company on Contract No. 18652 for construction of the Tenley-Friendship Branch of the District of Columbia Library.' He says further that it was prepared in the Budget Branch of the Department of which he is Director.
Under the clear language of § 1-804, D.C.Code, one of the dates in January, 1961, is the date of 'final settlement,' and because any one of these dates makes the plaintiff-intervenor's claim fall well within the permissible period, the Court need not decide which is the exact date of 'final settlement.' It is arguable that September 9, 1960, is the date of final 'performance' of the contract, although it should be observed that notification of such performance was contained in a letter dated as late as December 14, 1960. Assuming arguendo, however, that September 9, 1960, is the date of final 'performance,' the statute requires both 'performance' and 'final settlement' to have taken place before the statute of limitations begins to run. 'Final settlement' is a term which clearly applies not to the actual completion of the work, but to the determination of the amount of money finally owing.
Defendants argue that United States Casualty Co. v. District of Columbia, etc., 71 App.D.C. 92, 107 F.2d 652 (1939), is to the contrary, and requires the Court to adopt September 9, 1960, as the date of 'performance and final settlement.' That case, however, stands for the proposition that neither the date of approval of the work nor the date of actual final payment by an accounting office is the date of 'final settlement.' Instead, in that case, the date of 'final settlement' was held to be the date on which the head of the department most directly concerned with the work approved and signed a voucher which was intended to be a final account of money owed. 71 App.D.C. at 101, 107 F.2d at 660. The principle stated in that case is that the date of 'final settlement' is the date on which the Government arrives at 'a fairly definite and ascertainable decision concerning the amount the Government finds with reasonable finality to be due on the entire transaction.' The court continued:
'The determination, therefore, which is intended and controlling has the following characteristics in the usual case: it is one made by the administrative officer or department having charge of the work, not generally by the purely financial division of the Government; it is made in accordance with established administrative routine, if such exists in relation to the particular matter; usually it is recorded in like accordance with routine; it is a determination both that the work has been completed and that a liquidated sum is due in final payment of all claims under the contract * * *. The settlement which is held 'final' for fixing the periods of limitation is a settlement of the entire contract and of all substantial claims arising under it and its performance. * * * The settlement involves an administrative statement of account, including all charges and credits deemed allowable by the department, after deciding, with intended finality so far as its functions are concerned, such matters as the sufficiency of performance, allowance of liquidated damages, contingent liabilities, etc.' 71 App.D.C. at 99-100, 107 F.2d at 659-660.
Under the clear language of the statute and the clear principles enunciated in the above case, one of the dates in January, 1961, when a definite financial amount was stated for the first and final time, is the only one which could be considered the date of 'final settlement.' The defendants' motion must therefore be denied.
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