Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

LUCAS v. UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGRS.

April 9, 1992

Veronica Burns Lucas, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
United States Army Corps of Engineers, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES R. RICHEY

MEMORANDUM OPINION OF CHARLES R. RICHEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendant Cooper-Lecky Architects, P.C. ("CLA"). Upon careful consideration of the submissions of the parties, the applicable law, and the entire record herein, the Court shall grant the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, because it finds that there are no material facts in dispute and that CLA is entitled to judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.

 I. Background

 The plaintiffs are a team of architects and landscape architects who won a government-sponsored competition for designing a memorial to honor the members of the Armed Forces who served in the Korean War. Their team is known collectively as Burns Lucas, Leon, Lucas Architects ("BL3"). The war memorial is the last memorial planned to be located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

 The memorial was authorized by Congress through Public Law No. 99-572, 100 Stat. 3226 (1986), which created the Korean War Veterans Memorial Advisory Board ("Advisory Board"), composed of twelve distinguished Korean War veterans appointed by the President. The Advisory Board, in conjunction with the ABMC and the United States Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps"), sponsored the national competition for designing the memorial. The competition rules provided that the winning design had to be approved by the reviewing agencies before the design could be constructed. The competition also provided that the winner of the design competition would be retained in a consultant capacity under a separate contract with the architecture/engineering firm selected by the Corps of Engineers to implement the design.

 The plaintiffs won the competition. Between June and August of 1989, the reviewing agencies gave preliminary approval to the plaintiffs' design, subject to various reservations. About mid-October 1989, defendant CLA was chosen as the architectural firm for implementation of the project. Consistent with the design competition rules, CLA retained the plaintiffs as consultants for the implementation of the design. A contract for consulting services was executed between CLA and BL3 on May 9, 1990. The contract incorporated a letter dated April 12, 1990 between William P. Lecky of CLA and Veronica Burns Lucas of BL3.

 The plaintiffs allege that the Advisory Board worked in conjunction with CLA to alter the plaintiffs' design by developing the so-called "delta scheme". A design based on the delta scheme was presented to and rejected by the reviewing agencies. The plaintiffs contend that the delta scheme so altered the plaintiffs' design as to constitute a completely new design.

 The plaintiffs allege that CLA breached its contract with BL3 by failing to consult with it on matters in a timely manner, failing to seek consultation from BL3 in a "meaningful way", and by substituting its own design for the winning design. Complaint P44. They also allege that BL3 was an intended third-party beneficiary of the contract between CLA and the Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") and that they were damaged by CLA's alleged failure to consult with BL3 in a timely, meaningful way, its failure to "abide by" the consultation of BL3, and its alleged abandonment of the effort to implement the winning design in favor of implementing a new design of its choice. Complaint PP48-52.

 On October 24, 1991, this Court granted the federal defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, holding that the active involvement of the Advisory Board did not exceed their statutory authority. The Court then ordered the defendant Cooper-Lecky Associates to show cause whether the case should be dismissed regarding the claims against it. In response, CLA filed what is essentially a Motion for Summary Judgment. *fn1" CLA argues that the plaintiffs have failed to point to any facts showing that CLA breached any duty owed to them under the unambiguous language of its contracts with either the Corps or the plaintiffs. Moreover, CLA argues, any damages are purely speculative.

 II. Analysis

 Summary judgment is awarded when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Where there is a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the adverse party may not rest upon the "mere allegations or denials" of its pleadings, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); see Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 110 S. Ct. 3177, 3188-89, 111 L. Ed. 2d 695 (1990). However, it is well established that the Court must believe the non-movant's evidence and draw all justifiable inferences in his or her favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 , 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 A factual dispute must be material in order to preclude summary judgment; that is, it must be a dispute that may affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248.

 There does not seem to be a dispute between the parties that the correct law to apply in this federal question and diversity action is that of the District of Columbia. See Def.'s Resp. to Show Cause Order at 4-5; Pl.'s Opposition generally. The Court agrees that it should apply the law of the jurisdiction with the stronger interest, and that in this case, that jurisdiction is the District of Columbia, which is CLA's principle place of business and the site of the future memorial at issue. See Packer v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., 728 F. Supp. 8 (D.D.C. 1989).

 In construing a contract, the Court should give effect to the mutual intentions of the parties. NRM Corp. v. Hercules, Inc., 244 App. D.C. 356, 758 F.2d 676, 681 (D.C. Cir. 1985). Intent is construed by an objective standard and evidenced from the words of the contract itself. The subjective intent of the parties is not controlling. Haralson v. Federal Home Loan Bank Board, 655 F. Supp. 1550, 1554-55 (D.D.C. 1987). When the language of a contract is "clear and unambiguous on its face, a court will assume that the meaning ordinarily ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.