B-121193, OCT. 31, 1957

B-121193: Oct 31, 1957

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SINCE THE MATTER IS ONE INVOLVING CONFLICTING CLAIMS FILED BY YOU AND MR. WERE ADVISED THAT SUCH CONFLICTING CLAIMS GIVE RISE TO SERIOUS DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A PROPER ACQUITTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE OBTAINED BY PAYMENT TO EITHER PARTY ON THE PRESENT RECORD. 17 COMP. THE ATTORNEYS WERE ADVISED FURTHER THAT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. SINCE IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. WE DO NOT FEEL THAT IT IS PROPERLY THE OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INSTITUTE COURT ACTION TO DETERMINE A CONTROVERSY BETWEEN PRIVATE PARTIES FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE.

B-121193, OCT. 31, 1957

TO MR. RAY H. PETERSEN:

THERE HAS BEEN FORWARDED HERE FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 29, 1957, TO THE CHIEF, REAL ESTATE DIVISION, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, U.S. ARMY, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR $8,575, AS DAMAGES TO CERTAIN LAND FORMERLY OCCUPIED BY THE ARMY UNDER LEASES WO4-193-ENG-3010 AND 204-193-ENG-3011, DATED APRIL 20, 1943, AND APRIL 1, 1943, RESPECTIVELY.

SINCE THE MATTER IS ONE INVOLVING CONFLICTING CLAIMS FILED BY YOU AND MR. YERKES, YOUR ATTORNEYS, BY LETTER DATED JUNE 10, 1957, WERE ADVISED THAT SUCH CONFLICTING CLAIMS GIVE RISE TO SERIOUS DOUBT AS TO WHETHER A PROPER ACQUITTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE OBTAINED BY PAYMENT TO EITHER PARTY ON THE PRESENT RECORD. 17 COMP. GEN. 217, 19 ID. 196. THE ATTORNEYS WERE ADVISED FURTHER THAT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, UNLESS THE INTERESTED PARTIES CAN AGREE UPON A PROPER SETTLEMENT OR COMPOSE THEIR DIFFERENCES IN SOME WAY, NO FURTHER ACTION IN THE MATTER WOULD BE TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE.

YOU NOW REQUEST THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM, NAMELY $8,575 BE DEPOSITED PROMPTLY IN THE REGISTRY OF THE FEDERAL COURT PRESUMABLY TO AWAIT THE FILING OF A BILL OF INTERPLEADER.

WE KNOW OF NO REQUIREMENT OR AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR OUR OFFICE TO DEPOSIT IN THE REGISTRY OF A FEDERAL COURT ANY AMOUNT THAT MAY BE FOUND DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED, IN THE ABSENCE OF A PENDING ACTION BROUGHT TO DETERMINE THE RIGHTS OF CONFLICTING CLAIMANTS TO SUCH AMOUNT. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, RATHER THAN OF THIS OFFICE, TO INSTITUTE SUITS OR OTHER COURT ACTION WHERE NECESSARY ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, THIS OFFICE COULD NOT, IN ANY EVENT, COMPLY WITH YOUR REQUEST, AND WE DO NOT FEEL THAT IT IS PROPERLY THE OBLIGATION OF THE GOVERNMENT TO INSTITUTE COURT ACTION TO DETERMINE A CONTROVERSY BETWEEN PRIVATE PARTIES FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS IN NO WAY RESPONSIBLE. IN THE EVENT OF SUIT OF EITHER PARTY AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT WE WOULD, OF COURSE, RECOMMEND THAT THE OTHER PARTY BE IMPLEADED AS A PARTY SO THAT A PROPER ADJUDICATION COULD BE HAD.