Principles of Contract Interpretation
Contract interpretation begins with the plain language of the
contract. Gould, Inc. v. United States, 935 F.2d 1271, 1274 (Fed.
1991); accord Hol-Gar Mfg. Corp. v. United States, 169 Ct. Cl. 384,
(1965). A court should first employ a "plain meaning" analysis in
contract dispute. Aleman Food Services, Inc. v. United States, 994
819, 822 (Fed. Cir. 1993).|
In construing the terms of a contract, the parties' intent
gathered from the instrument as a whole in an attempt to glean the
meaning of terms within the contract's intended context. Kenneth
Constr. Corp. v. United States, 475 F.2d 583, 586 (Ct. Cl. 1973);
Constructors v. United States, 15 Cl. Ct. 559, 562 (1988). The
of the parties to a contract controls its interpretation. Firestone
& Rubber Co. v. United States, 444 F.2d 547, 551 (Ct. Cl. 1971).
Contract interpretation requires examination first of the four
of the written instrument to determine the intent of the parties.
Hol-Gar Mfg. Corp. v. United States, 351 F.2d 972 (Ct. Cl. 1965).
interpretation will be rejected if it leaves portions of the
language useless, inexplicable, inoperative, meaningless, or
superfluous. Ball State Univ. v. United States, 488 F.2d 1014 (Ct.
1973); Blake Constr. Co. Inc. v. United States, 987 F.2d 743,
(Fed. Cir. 1993).
[cited in USAM 4-4.420]