B-125204, OCT. 10, 1955

B-125204: Oct 10, 1955

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TO GORDON WOODROFFE (LIBIA) LTD.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22. THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN YOUR CLAIM WERE STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF JUNE 23. " THAT PAYMENT WAS NOT MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT REQUIREMENT. IN THAT CONNECTION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT. WHICH IS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE. IT IS ADMITTED THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT IN MAILING THE ORIGINAL CHECK DRAWN IN PAYMENT OF YOUR ACCOUNT TO ANOTHER CLAIMANT. THE CHECK IN PAYMENT OF YOUR ACCOUNT WAS NEVER RECEIVED BY MITCHELL. TO WHOM IT WAS ERRONEOUSLY MAILED AND NEITHER WAS IT RETURNED TO THE SENDING OFFICE. IT APPEARS THAT THE CHECK WAS LOST AFTER MAILING. A STOP PAYMENT ORDER ON THE CHECK WAS ISSUED AFTER A REASONABLE TIME AND YOU WERE FURNISHED FORMS FOR EXECUTION AS A PREREQUISITE TO ISSUING A DUPLICATE CHECK.

B-125204, OCT. 10, 1955

TO GORDON WOODROFFE (LIBIA) LTD.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22, 1955, YOUR FILE LJR/SS, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 23, 1955, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR 44.167 POUNDS AS INTEREST ALLEGED TO BE DUE ON ACCOUNT OF A DELAY IN EFFECTING PAYMENT UNDER CONTRACT NO. AF63/192/ 162, DATED APRIL 6, 1954.

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN YOUR CLAIM WERE STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF JUNE 23, 1955, AND NEED NOT BE REPEATED HERE.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE CONTRACT REQUIRED THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE "PAYMENT FOR THE GOODS WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME," THAT PAYMENT WAS NOT MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT REQUIREMENT, AND THAT THEREFORE A BREACH OF THE CONTRACT RESULTED. IN THAT CONNECTION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT, WHICH IS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE, MERELY PROVIDES THAT "THE CONTRACTOR SHALL BE PAID UPON THE SUBMISSION OF PROPERLY CERTIFIED INVOICES OR VOUCHERS.' IT MAY BE ASSUMED THAT THAT PROVISION CONTEMPLATES PAYMENT WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AFTER SUBMISSION OF PROPERLY CERTIFIED INVOICES OR VOUCHERS. HOWEVER, WHAT CONSTITUTED A REASONABLE TIME IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED APPEARS TO BE THE BASIC POINT IN CONTROVERSY.

IT IS ADMITTED THAT A MISTAKE WAS MADE BY THE GOVERNMENT IN MAILING THE ORIGINAL CHECK DRAWN IN PAYMENT OF YOUR ACCOUNT TO ANOTHER CLAIMANT. DOUBT SUCH ERROR CAUSED SOME DELAY. HOWEVER, THE CHECK IN PAYMENT OF YOUR ACCOUNT WAS NEVER RECEIVED BY MITCHELL, COTTS AND COMPANY, LTD., TO WHOM IT WAS ERRONEOUSLY MAILED AND NEITHER WAS IT RETURNED TO THE SENDING OFFICE. THUS, AS INDICATED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF JUNE 23, 1955, IT APPEARS THAT THE CHECK WAS LOST AFTER MAILING. A STOP PAYMENT ORDER ON THE CHECK WAS ISSUED AFTER A REASONABLE TIME AND YOU WERE FURNISHED FORMS FOR EXECUTION AS A PREREQUISITE TO ISSUING A DUPLICATE CHECK. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS REPORTED THAT YOU DID NOT EXECUTE THE RETURN THE FORMS PROMPTLY, AND, THEREFORE, THAT YOU WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LARGE PORTION OF THE DELAY. CONSIDERING ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE RECORD APPEARS TO WARRANT THE CONCLUSION THAT THE PAYMENT TO YOU WAS MADE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AND, THEREFORE, WITHIN THE TIME CONTEMPLATED BY THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT.

IT IS A WELL SETTLED PRINCIPLE OF LAW THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR INTEREST ON ITS OBLIGATIONS EXCEPT WHEN STIPULATED IN A CONTRACT OR SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED BY STATUTE. SEE UNITED STATES V. NORTH AMERICAN CO., 253 U.S. 330, 336. THUS, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CONCLUSION THAT INTEREST MIGHT BE RECOGNIZED AS A SECONDARY FACTOR IN THE COMPUTATION OF DAMAGES RESULTING FROM A BREACH OF A CONTRACT BY THE GOVERNMENT, PAYMENT OF INTEREST IS AUTHORIZED ONLY IF THE CONTRACT SO PROVIDES OR IF SUCH PAYMENT IS DIRECTED BY STATUTE. SINCE NEITHER THE CONTRACT NOR THE GOVERNING STATUTES AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF INTEREST IN THE PRESENT CASE AND SINCE NO BASIS APPEARS FOR A CONCLUSION THAT THERE WAS A BREACH OF THE CONTRACT BY THE GOVERNMENT, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR ALLOWING YOUR CLAIM.