Justice and Law Enforcement:
Claim for Loss or Damage of Personal Property
B-202683, Dec 9, 1981
GAO was asked whether it had the authority to settle claims related to the loss or damage of the personal property of the occupants of the official residence of the Vice President. GAO has no such authority. However, the Vice President may be compensated for loss or damage to his own personal property occurring incident to his service under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claims Act. He and other occupants of the official residence of the Vice President may be compensated for the loss of or damage to their personal property caused by the negligent acts of an officer or employee of the Federal Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act. GAO was also asked whether it had the authority to settle claims arising from the loss or damage of property loaned to the Office of the Vice President for exhibit in the residence of the Vice President. Such a loan to the Government creates a bailment for mutual benefit. Under such a relationship, the Government is required to exercise ordinary care to protect the bailed property in its possession. The Government would not be liable for loss or damage to the bailed property absent a showing of fault or negligence by an officer or employee of the United States. Should the party loaning the property be able to establish such Government liability, GAO could settle the claim under its claim settlement authority.