B-124384, OCT. 11, 1955

B-124384: Oct 11, 1955

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NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY: WE HAVE CONSIDERED THE REQUEST IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 15. TK-241419) WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $690.49 ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS NOT PROPERLY SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFICATES IN LIEU OF SUCH BILLS OF LADING. BILL FR-8643 WAS SUPPORTED ONLY BY COPIES OF FREIGHT BILLS. YOU REPLIED THAT BILL FR-8643 IS A COPY OF YOUR ORIGINAL BILL. WHICH WAS SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT IN MARCH 1943 FULLY SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING. THAT YOU ARE NOW UNABLE TO SECURE CERTIFICATES IN LIEU OF LOST BILLS OF LADING OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION BECAUSE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF YOUR RECORDS AND THE CLOSING OF THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT ISSUING OFFICES.

B-124384, OCT. 11, 1955

TO F. W. JACKSON, AUDITOR FREIGHT ACCOUNTS, NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY:

WE HAVE CONSIDERED THE REQUEST IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 15, 1954, FILE D-FR -8643, FOR REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT (CLAIM NO. TK-241419) WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION CHARGES OF $690.49 ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS NOT PROPERLY SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFICATES IN LIEU OF SUCH BILLS OF LADING.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE U.S. NAVY REGIONAL ACCOUNTS OFFICE, ON JANUARY 11, 1949, RECEIVED YOUR BILL FR-8643, STAMPED "COPY," CLAIMING FREIGHT CHARGES OF $690.49 ON FIVE SHIPMENTS ALLEGEDLY MADE DURING LATE 1942 AND EARLY 1943. BILL FR-8643 WAS SUPPORTED ONLY BY COPIES OF FREIGHT BILLS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE RETURNED THE BILL TO YOU FOR ATTACHMENT OF THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING OR CERTIFICATES IN LIEU THEREOF, AND INFORMED YOU THAT CHARGES ON ONE OF THE BILLS OF LADING N 614640, HAD ALREADY BEEN PAID. YOU REPLIED THAT BILL FR-8643 IS A COPY OF YOUR ORIGINAL BILL, WHICH WAS SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT IN MARCH 1943 FULLY SUPPORTED BY THE ORIGINAL GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING; THAT YOU ARE NOW UNABLE TO SECURE CERTIFICATES IN LIEU OF LOST BILLS OF LADING OR OTHER DOCUMENTATION BECAUSE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF YOUR RECORDS AND THE CLOSING OF THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT ISSUING OFFICES; THAT THE CHARGES PAID IN CONNECTION WITH BILL OF LADING N-614640 HAD COVERED THE MOVEMENT OF A GOVERNMENT SWITCH ENGINE FROM ATHOL, IDAHO, TO SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, FOR CLEANING AND REPAIR; AND THAT THE CHARGES YOU NOW SEEK ON BILL OF LADING N-614640 ARE FOR THE RETURN MOVEMENT TO ATHOL. AN EXHAUSTIVE SEARCH OF ITS RETAINED RECORDS BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DISCLOSED NEITHER THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING NOR PROOF THAT THE SERVICES WERE REQUESTED AND PERFORMED. YOUR CLAIM WAS REFERRED HERE FOR SETTLEMENT WITHOUT AN ADMINISTRATIVE RECOMMENDATION THAT IT BE PAID AND THE DISALLOWANCE COMPLAINED OF FOLLOWED. YOU NOW REQUEST THAT YOUR CLAIM BE PAID WITHOUT THE NECESSARY SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS.

THE BURDEN IS ON CLAIMANTS TO PROVE THEIR CLAIMS (18 COMP. GEN. 980; 17 ID. 831). THE ORIGINAL BILLS OF LADING, WITH THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATES OF DELIVERY PROPERLY ACCOMPLISHED, ARE THE EVIDENCE ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO SUPPORT PAYMENT. SEE INSTRUCTION NO. 2 ON THE BACK OF THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, STANDARD FORM NO. 1058 (8 COMP. GEN. 698), AND THE SUPERSEDING ISSUE, STANDARD FORM NO. 1103(22 COMP. GEN. 1177). IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH PROOF, WITH AN ADEQUATE REASON THEREFOR, OTHER EVIDENCE COMPETENTLY ESTABLISHING THE RIGHT TO PAYMENT MAY BE ACCEPTED. SEE PARAGRAPH 5, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 69 (8 COMP. GEN. 695); AND PARAGRAPH 9 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 97 (22 COMP. GEN. 1172).

THE PRESENT RECORD SHOWS THAT NEITHER YOU NOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE COULD LOCATE ANY RECORDS RELATIVE TO THE INVOLVED SHIPMENTS. THE SERVICE ALLEGEDLY WAS PERFORMED IN 1942 AND 1943 AND YOU SAY THAT YOUR ORIGINAL BILL WAS SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT IN MARCH 1943; HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1949, APPROXIMATELY SIX YEARS LATER, THAT YOU AGAIN SOUGHT PAYMENT. MORE TIMELY ACTION ON YOUR PART MIGHT HAVE PERMITTED THE ASSEMBLING OF A MORE SATISFACTORY RECORD. AS PRESENTED, THE RECORD DOES NOT ESTABLISH BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE CHARGES CLAIMED. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH EVIDENCE, WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CERTIFY YOUR BILL FOR PAYMENT. SEE CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 C.CLS. 316; LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, ..END :