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Declaratory relief: Not in the CoFC

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On July 6, 2011, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that while it had jurisdiction to hear a plaintiff’s claim against the Department for Veterans Affairs for breach of a property contract to the extent of the plaintiff’s money damages claim, it did not have jurisdiction or authority to award declaratory relief or “specific performance.”

That case is Patricia Hoag v. United States, Fed. Cl., No. 11-4C, 7/6/11. This is an area with respect to which there have been contrary views, but – subject to reversal – would appear to resolve the question in the negative to contractors seeking declaratory or other non-monetary relief from the court. The court did allow the case to proceed on the money damage portion of the claim though. Pleaders should consider this case when drafting complaints for CoFC relief and expect it to be used by Justice Counsel for pending or future claims.

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