Harold Clare Petrowitz

Administrative Law Judge

Harold Clare Petrowitz, 83, a retired administrative law judge and American University law professor who helped resolve contract disputes ranging from the Panama Canal to Washington's Metro, died Sept. 30 as the result of falling from a train platform at New York's Penn Station. He lived in the District.

Mr. Petrowitz judged contract disputes for the Atomic Energy Commission from 1966 to 1975, and for the Army Corps of Engineers board of contract appeals from 1990 until his retirement in 2000.

In a case involving the U.S. Court of Claims, former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas once called Mr. Petrowitz "our leading authority" on contract appeals.

Mr. Petrowitz was an arbitrator, an adviser to a U.S. Senate subcommittee and an attorney with the District law firm Landfield, Becker & Green for 20 years, in addition to working as a law professor.

Mr. Petrowitz, who was born in Lansing, Mich., studied engineering at the University of Michigan, where he graduated in 1939. He received a law degree in 1950 and a master's degree in international law in 1954 from Georgetown University Law Center. He received a master's degree in administrative law from Columbia University Law School in 1962, did advanced studies in economics at the University of Miami and was a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution.

During World War II and until 1954, he worked as a project engineer with the Navy in Washington. He then worked two years as manager of contracts and marketing with White-Rodgers Electric Co. in St. Louis, and taught for four years at the University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Management. In the early 1960s, he was an assistant professor of law at the University of Denver's law school for two years.

Mr. Petrowitz enjoyed music and the theater. While a student at Michigan, Mr. Petrowitz, an amateur photographer, took photos of Frank Sinatra and the Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw orchestras.

In 2000 at the National Cathedral, the former president of Poland, Juliusz Sokolnicki, knighted Mr. Petrowitz into the international charitable organization the Order of St. Stanislas.

Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Carmen Bieberach Lasso-Valdes Petrowitz, of the District.