A-62062, JULY 23, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 64

A-62062: Jul 23, 1935

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1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 6. WHICH WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED BY FIRE FEBRUARY 10. THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO WITH CLAIMANT BY THE DEPUTY SECRETARY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS AND WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA IN CONFORMITY WITH THE INTENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED UNDER THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT. THAT THE TYPEWRITER THUS RENTED WAS LATER COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY FIRE WHICH BURNED THE BUILDING IN WHICH IT WAS LOCATED. THERE APPEARS NO EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT MIGHT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE LOSS. ALTHOUGH IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THE TYPEWRITER WAS USED WAS CARRIED ON UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE FOREST SERVICE.

A-62062, JULY 23, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 64

REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF TYPEWRITER - FOREST SERVICE THE ACT OF JANUARY 31, 1931, 46 STAT. 1052, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF A TYPEWRITER RENTED BY A STATE FOREST SERVICE FOR USE IN EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, THE APPLICATION OF SAID STATUTE BEING LIMITED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF EQUIPMENTS, TC., "OBTAINED BY THE FOREST SERVICE (UNITED STATES) FOR THE USE OF THAT SERVICE.'

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO MAJOR E. C. MORTON, UNITED STATES ARMY, JULY 23, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 6, 1935, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF GEORGE P. TILLOTSON, HARRISBURG, PA., IN THE AMOUNT OF $40, CONSTITUTING HIS CLAIM UNDER THE ACT OF JANUARY 31, 1931, 46 STAT. 1052, FOR LOSS OF ONE L. C. SMITH TYPEWRITER, NO. 896,938, RENTED BY THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA FOREST SERVICE UNDER CONTRACT DATED JUNE 28, 1933, FOR USE IN EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, WHICH WAS TOTALLY DESTROYED BY FIRE FEBRUARY 10, 1934, AT CAMP NO. 83, WILCOX, PA.

THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO WITH CLAIMANT BY THE DEPUTY SECRETARY TO THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTS AND WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA IN CONFORMITY WITH THE INTENT OF EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED UNDER THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT, AND THAT THE TYPEWRITER THUS RENTED WAS LATER COMPLETELY DESTROYED BY FIRE WHICH BURNED THE BUILDING IN WHICH IT WAS LOCATED. THERE APPEARS NO EVIDENCE OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES THAT MIGHT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE LOSS.

ALTHOUGH IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THE TYPEWRITER WAS USED WAS CARRIED ON UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE FOREST SERVICE, THAT SERVICE WAS NOT A PARTY TO THE CONTRACT. HENCE, THE TYPEWRITER CANNOT BE REGARDED AS "EQUIPMENT OBTAINED BY THE FOREST SERVICE FOR THE USE OF THAT SERVICE," AND, THEREFORE, THE PROPOSED REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE SAID ACT OF JANUARY 31, 1931, 46 STAT. 1052, WHICH PROVIDES IN PART:

* * * THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS AUTHORIZED, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE:

(C) TO REIMBURSE OWNERS FOR LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF HORSES, VEHICLES, AND OTHER EQUIPMENT OBTAINED BY THE FOREST SERVICE FOR THE USE OF THAT SERVICE FROM EMPLOYEES OR OTHER PRIVATE OWNERS * * *.

IN DETERMINING WHETHER UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ACQUISITION, USE, AND DESTRUCTION OF THE TYPEWRITER, THE OWNER MAY BE REIMBURSED THEREFOR UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE, THERE IS FOR APPLICATION THE GENERAL RULE OF CONSTRUCTION THAT IN CONSTRUING A STATUTE GIVING A REMEDY AGAINST A PARTY WHO WOULD NOT OTHERWISE BE LIABLE, SUCH STATUTE MUST BE STRICTLY CONSTRUED IN FAVOR OF THE PERSON SOUGHT TO BE SUBJECTED TO ITS OPERATION. 59 C.J. 1129. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROVISION OF THE STATUTE MAY NOT BE EXTENDED BEYOND THE DIRECT OPERATION OF THE WORDS EMPLOYED THEREIN. SEE 59 C.J. 1124.

YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED ON THE VOUCHER WHICH WILL BE RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE.