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In drafting its construction contracts the United States certainly has both the power and the resources to write contracts providing expressly that it will pass off onto its contractors, either in whole or in part, liability it incurs for damages caused by its own judicially determined negligence. The Government could require its contractors to hold it harmless without regard to fault on their part, or it could establish a proration of liability arising from the joint negligence of the parties. But the contractual provision before us does neither. It no more says that the contractor shall reimburse the Government for his share of joint negligence than that he shall be a liability insurer for the Government's sole negligence.

The Court nonetheless manages to discover that the clause amounts to a contribution agreement, relying for its conclusion upon cases involving not the simple responsibility clause before us, but express indemnification agreements with "hold harmless" clauses. This result is said to be desirable because it ensures a fair distribution of loss between those jointly responsible for the damage. But when Seckinger entered into this contract, he had every reason to expect that his liability for injuries to his employees would be limited to what is imposed by the South Carolina compensation law. That law relieved him of responsibility in tort in exchange for his guaranty that his employees would recover without regard to fault. Presumably his bid on the government project reflected his reasonable expectation that this would be the extent of his liability on account of employee accidents. Now the Court heaps an unforeseen federal contractual burden atop the requirement the State has already imposed.

If the Government wants to impose additional liabilities upon those with whom it contracts to do its work, I would require it to do so openly, so that every bidder may clearly know the extent of his potential liability. Even in the domain of private contract law, the author of a standard form agreement is required to state its terms with clarity and candor. Surely no less is required of the United States of America when it does business with its citizens.

Mr. Justice Holmes once said that "[m]en must turn square corners when they deal with the Government." I had always supposed this was a two-way street. The Government knows how to write an indemnification or contribution clause when that is what it wants. It has not written one here.

I would affirm the judgment.

GOVERNMENT CONTRACT LAW CASES

TABLE OF CASES

AND

ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS

TABLE OF CASES

AND

ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS

Decisions of Courts

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658 827 201

89 604 431 128 466 764

76 356

43 237 751 628 339 504 517

35 446 256 229 158 362

30 690 804 175 106 862 377

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Alabama v. King and Boozer
Artisan Electronics Corp v. U.S.
Ray Baillie Trash Hauling, Inc. v. Kleppe, Admr.
Baltimore & O. R. Co. v. U.S.
Chris Berg, Inc. v. U.S.
Bishop Engineering Co. v. U.S.
Brookfield Construction Co. v. U.S.
Bruce Construction Company v. U.S.
Cannon Construction Co. v. U.S.
G. L. Christian & Associates v. U.S.
Christy Corporation v. U.S., et. al.
Clearfield Trust Co. v. U.S.
Continental Bank & Trust Co. v. U.S.
County of Sarpy, Nebraska v. U.S.
Cutler-Hammer, Inc. v. U.S.
Double H Products Corp. V. Bank
Dravo Corp v. U.S.
Eastern Rotorcraft v. U.S.
Federal Crop Ins. Corp. v. Merrill
General Contracting and Constr. Co. v. U.S.
General Electric Co., A Corp. v. U.S.
Great American Insurance Co. v. U.S.
Heyer Products Co. v. U.S.
Hol-Gar Manufacturing Corp. v. U.S.
Horowitz v. U.S.
Ideal Uniform Cap Co. v. U.S. (1967)
Ideal Uniform Cap Co. v. U.S. (1968)
Keco Industries, Inc. v. U.S.
Leitman v. U.S.
Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., Inc. v. U.S.
J. A. Maurer, Inc. v. U.S.
S. S. Mullen, Inc. v. U.S.
Nickel v. Pollia
S. N. Nielsen Co. v. U.S.
Perkins v. Lukens Steel Co.
Plumley v. U.S.
John Reiner & Co. v. U.S.
Roscoe-Ajax Constr. Co., Inc. v. U.S.

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(S.Ct.)
(Ct.cl.)
(C. A.)
(S.Ct.)
(Ct.ci.)
(Ct.ci.)
(Dist.ct.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(ct.ci.)
(Ct. Cl.)
(S.Ct.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct. Cl.)
(C. A. )
(Ct. ci.)
(Ct. cl.)
(s. Ct.)
(ct. Cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct. cl.)
(S.Ct.)
(Ct.cl.)
(ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(C.A.)
(Ct.cl.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(ct.cl.)
(Ct.ci.)

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(Ct.ci.)
(C. A.)
(ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(S.ct)
(C. A.)

449 . 135

152 840 580

685 729 . 161

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P. L. Saddler v. U.S. .
Scanwell Industries, Inc. v. Thomas
Herbert Schoenbrod, as Trustee, etc. v. U.S.
Schweigert, Inc. v. U.S.
Security Insurance Co. v. U.S.
Severin v. U.S.
S & E Contractors, Inc. v. U.S.
M. Steinthal & Co. v. Seamans
The Contractors Assn. of Eastern Pa. et. al. v.

The Secretary of Labor, et. al.
The Floyd Acceptances
U.S. V. American Renaissance Lines
U.S. V. Carlo Bianchi & Co. .
U.S. V. Binghamton Construction Co.
U.S. V. Corliss Steam Engine Co.
U.S. v. Anthony Grace & Sons, Inc.
U.S. V. Laudani
U.S. V. Livingston
U.S. V. Nixon
U.S. V. Purcell Envelope Co.
U.S. V. M. 0. Seckinger, Jr., etc.
U.S. V. Shaw
U.S. V. Tingey
U.S. v. Utah Construction and Mining Co.
U.S. V. Wunderlich
Wender Presses, Inc. v. U.S.
Westinghouse Electric Corp. v. Schlesinger
George H. Whike Construction Co. v. U.S.
William F. Wilke, Inc. v. U.S.
Williams v. U.S.
Williams and Wilkins v. U.S.
WPC Enterprises v. U.S.

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(Dist. Ct.)
(S. Ct.)
(C. A.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
($.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(Dist. Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(S.Ct.)
(Ct.cl.)
(U.S.D.C.)
(Ct. cl.)
(C. A.)
(Ct.cl.)
(Ct.cl.)
(ct.ci.)

570 32 47 705 547 848 725 550 662 54

4 878 27 25 714 703 112 754

39 . 102

87 528 352

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Decisions of Administrative Agencies

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Ace Electronics Associates, Inc.
Admiral Corporation
Aerojet-General Corp. (1971)
Aeorjet-General Corp. (1970)
Aerokits, Inc. .
Bart Manufacturing Corporation
Best Janitorial Service
Carlo Bianchi & Co., Inc.
Blake Construction Co.
Burroughs Corporation
Catalytic Engineering & Mfg. Corp
Chamberlain Mfg. Corp. .
Council Manufacturing Co.
Curtiss-Wright v. McLucas
Defense Electronics, Inc.
Delcher Brothers Storage Co.
E.J.B. Sales Company
Electronic Industries, Inc.
Fairchild-Hiller Corp.
Federal Electric Corporation
Forgy Construction Co.
Frederick Construction Co.
Fullerton Construction Co.
G. W. Galloway Co. ..
Geranco Manufacturing Corp.
Gordon Enterprises
Honeywell, Inc.
B. W. Horn Company
Isotopes, Inc, .
Jeppesen & Company
Johnson Electronics, Inc.
Keco Industries, Inc.
Kinn Electronics Corp.
Kirinn & Company, Inc.
Kleen-Rite Janitorial Service, Inc.
Kurz & Root Co., Inc.
Lox Equipment Co. (#8518 [1964])
Lox Equipment Co. (#8985 [1964])
Maney Aircraft Parts, Inc.
Medical Fabrics Company
Norris Industries
Northeast Construction Company
Nuclear Research Associates, Inc.
Onsrud Machine Works, Inc.
Ordnance Parts & Engineering Co.
Palmer Bros. Auto Supply, Inc.

(ASBCA)

821 (ASBCA)

453 (ASBCA)

688 (ASBCA)

. 220 (ASBCA)

780
(ASBCA)

3
(ASBCA). · 769
(Eng. BCA)
(GSBCA)

349
(ASBCA) . 671
(ASBCA)

407 (ASBCA)

84 (ASBCA)

788 (Dept. of Labor)560 (ASBCA)

682 (ASBCA)

680 (ASBCA)

. 105 (ASBCA)

489 (ASBCA)

614 (ASBCA)

15 (ASBCA)

347 (ASBCA)

445 : (ASBCA)

500 (ASBCA)

. 608 (ASBCA)

. 359 (ASBCA)

679
(ASBCA)

. 639
(ASBCA)
(ASBCA)

245
(ASBCA)

. 702 (ASBCA) · 393, 843 (ASBCA)

. 591 (ASBCA)

368 (ASBCA)

422 (ASBCA)

556 (ASBCA)

479 (ASBCA) · 397 (ASBCA)

436 (ASBCA) . 695 (ASBCA)

. 677 (ASBCA)

. 642 (ASBCA)

491 (ASBCA)

814 (ASBCA)

472 (ASBCA)

8 (ASBCA)

12

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