B-125355, FEB. 6, 1956

B-125355: Feb 6, 1956

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- HAVE BEEN ISSUED. YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-778-6 WAS FILED TO RECOVER ADDITIONAL CHARGES OF $18.48 CLAIMED TO BE DUE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A CARLOAD OF AMPHIBIAN TRUCKS FROM DEARBORN. THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATE OF DELIVERY WAS SIGNED TO SHOW RECEIPT OF THE PROPERTY AT ARMY DEPOT ON NOVEMBER 10. YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-788-6 IS REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON JULY 17. WHEN YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL WAS RETURNED TO YOU ON MAY 6. THE COURT OF CLAIMS RULED THAT A CLAIM "ACCRUES" WHEN ALL THE EVENTS HAVE OCCURRED WHICH FIX THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO A CLAIMANT AND WHICH ENTITLE THE CLAIMANT TO SUE THEREON. THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR FREIGHT CHARGES PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH SHIPMENTS TRANSPORTED ON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING IS FIXED AT THE TIME THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND THE SHIPMENTS DELIVERED.

B-125355, FEB. 6, 1956

TO CENTRAL OF GEORGIA RAILWAY COMPANY:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER FILE N-14800-G-A, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION ON YOUR CLAIM, BY SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-778-6, FOR $18.48, AND ON 14 OF YOUR BILLS FOR WHICH NOTICES OF OVERPAYMENT-- GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FORMS 1003--- HAVE BEEN ISSUED.

YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-778-6 WAS FILED TO RECOVER ADDITIONAL CHARGES OF $18.48 CLAIMED TO BE DUE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A CARLOAD OF AMPHIBIAN TRUCKS FROM DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, TO ARMY DEPOT, GEORGIA, ON BILL OF LADING WQ-7889583, IN NOVEMBER 1942. THE CONSIGNEE'S CERTIFICATE OF DELIVERY WAS SIGNED TO SHOW RECEIPT OF THE PROPERTY AT ARMY DEPOT ON NOVEMBER 10, 1942. YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-788-6 IS REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON JULY 17, 1953, MORE THAN TEN YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF DELIVERY OF THE PROPERTY.

WHEN YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL WAS RETURNED TO YOU ON MAY 6, 1955, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 820, 76TH CONGRESS, THIRD SESSION, 31 U.S.C.A. 71A, BECAUSE WE HAD NO JURISDICTION TO CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM, WE ALSO SENT YOU A COPY OF PUBLIC LAW 820. THAT LAW PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT EVERY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM SHALL BE RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. GROUP V. UNITED STATES, 125 C.CLS. 135, THE COURT OF CLAIMS RULED THAT A CLAIM "ACCRUES" WHEN ALL THE EVENTS HAVE OCCURRED WHICH FIX THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES TO A CLAIMANT AND WHICH ENTITLE THE CLAIMANT TO SUE THEREON. THE LIABILITY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR FREIGHT CHARGES PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH SHIPMENTS TRANSPORTED ON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING IS FIXED AT THE TIME THE SERVICES ARE RENDERED AND THE SHIPMENTS DELIVERED. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, HUGHES TRANSPORTATION, INC. V. UNITED STATES, 109 F.SUPP. 373. YOUR CLAIM FOR ALL OR ANY PART OF THE FREIGHT CHARGES YOU BELIEVE PAYABLE ON BILL OF LADING WQ-7889583 ACCRUED ON NOVEMBER 10, 1942, THE DAY THE CONSIGNEE RECEIPTED FOR DELIVERY OF THE GOODS. THE "10 FULL YEARS" PROVIDED IN PUBLIC LAW 820 BEGAN TO RUN FROM THAT DATE AND EXPIRED SOME EIGHT MONTHS BEFORE YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL CHARGES WAS RECEIVED HERE ON JULY 17, 1953. UNDER THE STATUTE, OUR OFFICE NO LONGER HAD JURISDICTION TO CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM, BUT WAS REQUIRED TO RETURN IT TO YOU.

YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE AUDIT ACTION TAKEN ON 14 OTHER BILLS DOES NOT PUT IN ISSUE THE CORRECTNESS OF THAT ACTION, BUT, RATHER, THE GOVERNMENT'S RIGHT TO RECOVER THE STATED OVERPAYMENTS, TOTALLING $5,200.35, MADE MORE THAN TEN YEARS PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE DEMAND FOR REFUND. YOU ARGUE THAT IT IS UNREASONABLE NOT TO CONSIDER THE GOVERNMENT BOUND BY THE SAME LIMITATIONS THAT ARE IMPOSED UPON CARRIERS. IN SUPPORT OF THIS POSITION, YOU ENCLOSED A COPY OF YOUR LETTER TO US UNDER FILE N- 21333-G, CONCERNING THE OVERPAYMENTS ON 19 OTHER BILLS. THE POINTS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THAT FILE WERE ANSWERED IN OUR DECISION TO YOU ON JANUARY 18, 1956, B-122960, AND THE CONCLUSION REACHED THERE IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION OF OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION IN RETURNING YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL BILL N-5-14800-A-G-R-778-6 COMPLIED WITH THE MANDATE OF PUBLIC LAW 820, AND IS NECESSARILY SUSTAINED. SINCE YOU HAVE RAISED NO SUBSTANTIVE DEFENSES TO THE OVERPAYMENTS DETERMINED ON THE 14 OTHER BILLS INVOLVED, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FORMS 1003 ISSUED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH ARE RETURNED. THE AMOUNT OF THE STATED OVERPAYMENTS SHOULD BE REFUNDED PROMPTLY.