A-9100, SEPTEMBER 24, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 109

A-9100: Sep 24, 1931

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A POSSIBLE DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A COURT OR JURY WOULD REGARD THE EVIDENCE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO ADDUCE AT THE TRIAL AS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH SUCH LIABILITY DOES NOT JUSTIFY ACCEPTANCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 409. AT WHICH POINT THE MAIL TRUCK WAS MAKING A U TURN. WHICH WAS REFUSED BY HEBERT'S INSURERS. SUIT WAS INSTITUTED. THIS CASE IS CERTIFIED TO ME BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. ALL PAPERS IN THE CASE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH. THE POST-OFFICE INSPECTOR REPORTS THAT FROM THE FACTS IN THE CASE IT IS CLEAR THAT THE OWNER AND DRIVER OF THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE. WHO WAS INSURED. IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCIDENT. IS TO THE SAME EFFECT. A POSSIBLE DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A COURT OR JURY WOULD REGARD THE EVIDENCE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO ADDUCE AT THE TRIAL AS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT LIABILITY DOES NOT JUSTIFY ACCEPTANCE OF THE OFFER IN COMPROMISE MADE BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY ON A 50 PERCENT BASIS.

A-9100, SEPTEMBER 24, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 109

COMPROMISES - OFFERS - POSTAL SERVICE WHERE THE FACTS OF RECORD DEFINITELY DISCLOSE THE LIABILITY OF A PERSON FOR DAMAGES TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AS THE RESULT OF AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT, A POSSIBLE DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A COURT OR JURY WOULD REGARD THE EVIDENCE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO ADDUCE AT THE TRIAL AS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH SUCH LIABILITY DOES NOT JUSTIFY ACCEPTANCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 409, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, OF AN OFFER IN COMPROMISE MADE BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY ON A 50 PERCENT BASIS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, SEPTEMBER 24, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED FOR MY CONSIDERATION THE CASE OF EMERY HEBERT, 29 NASSAU STREET, WILLIAMSETT, MASSACHUSETTS, INVOLVING LIABILITY TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE SUM OF $57.37. THIS LIABILITY REPRESENTS DAMAGE SUSTAINED BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED MAIL TRUCK NO. 2582, WHEN COLLIDED WITH BY AN AUTOMOBILE OWNED AND OPERATED BY HEBERT.

THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED ON FEBRUARY 19, 1929, ON GRATTAN STREET, ALDENVILLE, CHICOPEE FALLS, MASSACHUSETTS, AT WHICH POINT THE MAIL TRUCK WAS MAKING A U TURN. THE CAR OPERATED BY HEBERT SWERVED TO THE LEFT AND ATTEMPTED TO PASS THE MAIL TRUCK, BUT STRUCK AND OVERTURNED IT, FATALLY INJURING THE MAIL TRUCK CHAUFFEUR, SUBSTITUTE CARRIER LEROY E. WHITE.

FOLLOWING DEMAND FOR THE AMOUNT OF DAMAGES, WHICH WAS REFUSED BY HEBERT'S INSURERS, SUIT WAS INSTITUTED. AN OFFER IN COMPROMISE WITH CHECK FOR $28.69 HAS NOW BEEN TENDERED BY THE FIDELITY AND CASUALTY COMPANY OF NEW YORK.

THIS CASE IS CERTIFIED TO ME BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, IN HIS ATTACHED LETTER, AS ONE PROBABLY REQUIRING THE EXERCISE OF THE POWERS OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL OVER FINES, PENALTIES, FORFEITURES, AND LIABILITIES. THE COMPTROLLER RECOMMENDS, UNDER SECTION 409 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 4, 1925 (5 U.S.C., SECS. 383, 384), THAT THE OFFER BE ACCEPTED.

UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE, I HEREBY CONSENT TO THE PROPOSED ACTION. IF ACCEPTED, THE CHECK WHICH ACCOMPANIES THE CASE SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY, TO THE CREDIT OF "MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS" OF THE POSTAL SERVICE. ALL PAPERS IN THE CASE ARE TRANSMITTED HEREWITH.

THE POST-OFFICE INSPECTOR REPORTS THAT FROM THE FACTS IN THE CASE IT IS CLEAR THAT THE OWNER AND DRIVER OF THE PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE, WHO WAS INSURED, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACCIDENT. THE AFFIDAVIT OF THE ONLY KNOWN EYEWITNESS, ANDREW A. HOPKINS, IS TO THE SAME EFFECT. SINCE THERE APPEARS NO DOUBT OF THE LIABILITY OF EMERY HEBERT, A POSSIBLE DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A COURT OR JURY WOULD REGARD THE EVIDENCE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO ADDUCE AT THE TRIAL AS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT LIABILITY DOES NOT JUSTIFY ACCEPTANCE OF THE OFFER IN COMPROMISE MADE BY THE INSURANCE COMPANY ON A 50 PERCENT BASIS. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION LETTER OF JUNE 23, 1931, FROM THIS OFFICE TO YOU IN A SIMILAR CASE. MAINTAINING THE PRINCIPLE OR POLICY THAT PERSONS LEGALLY LIABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT MUST PAY IN FULL IS OF MORE IMPORTANCE THAT THE COST OF A TRIAL IN THIS CASE OR THE SMALL AMOUNT INVOLVED.

THE PAPERS IN THE CASE ARE RETURNED FOR ACTION WITH A VIEW TO THE COLLECTION OF THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM.