A-11454, OCTOBER 27, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 299

A-11454: Oct 27, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT PAYABLE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS WHEN A PROVISION IN THE LEASE REQUIRED THE LESSOR TO MAKE ALL REPAIRS WITHOUT EXCEPTION. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PAY FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR VEHICLE SERVICE THE COST OF REPLACING A DOOR TO THE POST-OFFICE GARAGE IN YOUNGSTOWN. THE DOOR WAS JUST BEING CLOSED AT THE TIME BY ANOTHER CLERK WHO WAS FORCED THROUGH THE DOOR AND SLIGHTLY INJURED. THE CHAUFFEUR STATES THAT THE GEARS WERE PLACED IN NEUTRAL WHEN HE STOPPED THE TRUCK BEFORE FILLING WITH GASOLINE AND THAT HE HAD SET THE EMERGENCY BRAKE. THE LEASE UNDER WHICH THE GARAGE IS RENTED. - * * * WILL AT ALL TIMES KEEP SAID PREMISES. THE LESSOR HAVING AGREED TO MAKE ALL REPAIRS WITHOUT EXCEPTION THERE IS NO DUTY ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES TO REPAIR OR REPLACE THE DAMAGED DOOR.

A-11454, OCTOBER 27, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 299

REPAIRS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY LEASED TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT THE COST OF REPLACING A DOOR TO A GARAGE OCCUPIED BY THE POSTAL SERVICE UNDER A LEASE AGREEMENT, WHERE THE DOOR HAD BEEN DAMAGED BY A POST-OFFICE TRUCK WITHOUT NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE DRIVER, IS NOT PAYABLE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS WHEN A PROVISION IN THE LEASE REQUIRED THE LESSOR TO MAKE ALL REPAIRS WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, OCTOBER 27, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 3, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PAY FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR VEHICLE SERVICE THE COST OF REPLACING A DOOR TO THE POST-OFFICE GARAGE IN YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, OCCUPIED BY THE POSTAL SERVICE UNDER A LEASE.

THE INSPECTOR'S REPORT OF AN INVESTIGATION OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE OCCURRENCE DISCLOSES THE FOLLOWING FACTS: THAT THE TRUCK CAUSING THE DAMAGE HAD BEEN FILLING UP WITH GASOLINE AT A PUMP ABOUT 14 FEET INSIDE THE DOOR, UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH THE CHAUFFEUR, JOHN A. STARON, CRANKED THE MACHINE AND THE TRUCK STARTED BACKWARDS GOING THROUGH AND DEMOLISHING THE DOOR BEFORE IT COULD BE STOPPED. THE DOOR WAS JUST BEING CLOSED AT THE TIME BY ANOTHER CLERK WHO WAS FORCED THROUGH THE DOOR AND SLIGHTLY INJURED. THE CHAUFFEUR STATES THAT THE GEARS WERE PLACED IN NEUTRAL WHEN HE STOPPED THE TRUCK BEFORE FILLING WITH GASOLINE AND THAT HE HAD SET THE EMERGENCY BRAKE. THE INSPECTORS WHO INVESTIGATED THE MATTER FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CHAUFFEUR.

THE LEASE UNDER WHICH THE GARAGE IS RENTED, DATED JUNE 8, 1920, PROVIDES THAT THE LESSORS---

* * * WILL AT ALL TIMES KEEP SAID PREMISES, INCLUDING THE EQUIPMENT AND FIXTURES (INCLUDING HEATING AND LIGHTING FIXTURES), IN GOOD REPAIR AND CONDITION, TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE PARTY OF THE SECOND PART, AND IN DEFAULT THEREOF THE SAID PREMISES SHALL BE DEEMED UNFIT FOR USE AS A GARAGE AND NO RENT SHALL BE DUE OR PAYABLE HEREUNDER UNTIL THE SAME SHALL BE PUT IN A SATISFACTORY CONDITION FOR SUCH USE * * *.

THE LESSOR HAVING AGREED TO MAKE ALL REPAIRS WITHOUT EXCEPTION THERE IS NO DUTY ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES TO REPAIR OR REPLACE THE DAMAGED DOOR. SEE DECISION OF FEBRUARY 9, 1925, A-6779. SUCH BEING THE CASE IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PASS AT THIS TIME UPON THE REASONABLENESS OF THE ESTIMATE SUBMITTED FOR REPLACING.

THIS CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THAT INVOLVED IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 26, 1925, REFERRED TO BY YOU, INVOLVING DAMAGES TO A DOOR OF A BUILDING LEASED BY THE WILKINSBURG BRANCH OF THE PITTSBURGH POST OFFICE. IN THAT CASE THE LEASE SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED THE LESSOR FROM RESPONSIBILITY FOR REPAIRS RESULTING FROM THE ACT OR NEGLIGENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S AGENTS OR EMPLOYEES, AND THE DAMAGE WAS SHOWN TO HAVE RESULTED FROM AN "ACT" OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, ALTHOUGH NO NEGLIGENCE WAS APPARENT. NO SUCH PROVISION APPEARS IN THE LEASE OF THE GARAGE AT YOUNGSTOWN.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, THE DUTY OF MAKING THE NECESSARY REPAIRS IS UPON THE LESSORS OR THEIR SUCCESSORS IN INTEREST, AND YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO REIMBURSE THEM THEREFOR FROM ANY FUNDS UNDER YOUR CONTROL.