B-130116, JAN. 31, 1957

B-130116: Jan 31, 1957

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

RELATES TO YOUR CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION INVOLVING 13 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH YOU SAY WAS FORFEITED DURING 1924. WHICH WAS RECEIVED HERE MORE THAN 31 YEARS AFTER CLAIM NO. 060724 HAD BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED. YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT THE CLAIM COULD NOT NOW BE CONSIDERED BECAUSE OF THE ELAPSED TIME BETWEEN THE DATE OF OUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND THE DATE OF YOUR INQUIRY. DURING WHICH THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO EITHER JUSTIFY OR REFUTE THE CLAIM WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW OR WERE NO LONGER AVAILABLE. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED AT THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD. YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED BEFORE YOUR LEAVE RECORDS WERE DESTROYED. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE NO RIGHT TO SETTLE STALE CLAIMS.

B-130116, JAN. 31, 1957

TO MR. A. W. MOE:

YOUR UNSIGNED LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 15, 1956, RELATES TO YOUR CLAIM FOR COMPENSATION INVOLVING 13 DAYS OF ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH YOU SAY WAS FORFEITED DURING 1924, WHILE A NAVY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE AT THE PUGET SOUND SHIPYARD, BREMERTON, WASHINGTON.

BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 28, 1956, YOU TRANSMITTED A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF POSTAL CARD ACKNOWLEDGMENT DATED OCTOBER 14, 1924, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICER, CLAIMS DIVISION, ONE SIDE OF WHICH CONTAINS PRINTED INFORMATION WHICH STATES THAT CLAIM NO. 060724 "HAS BEEN RECEIVED" FOR CONSIDERATION. THE FORM OF RECEIPT DOES NOT SHOW THE NAME OF THE ADDRESSEE-CLAIMANT, BUT INDICATES THAT SETTLEMENT THEREOF WOULD BE EFFECTED "AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE" AT WHICH TIME THE CLAIMANT WOULD BE SO ADVISED. YOUR LETTER, WHICH WAS RECEIVED HERE MORE THAN 31 YEARS AFTER CLAIM NO. 060724 HAD BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED, CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING INQUIRY:

"WOULD APPRECIATE MATURITY OF PRACTICABLE DATE MENTIONED IN YOUR CORRESPONDENCE.'

BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE LETTER DATED OCTOBER 11, 1956, FILE Z 1796866, YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT THE CLAIM COULD NOT NOW BE CONSIDERED BECAUSE OF THE ELAPSED TIME BETWEEN THE DATE OF OUR ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND THE DATE OF YOUR INQUIRY, DURING WHICH THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO EITHER JUSTIFY OR REFUTE THE CLAIM WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW OR WERE NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THE PRIOR ACTION IN THE MATTER. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED AT THE PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD, AND YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED BEFORE YOUR LEAVE RECORDS WERE DESTROYED, SINCE YOU HAD BEEN VERBALLY INFORMED THAT YOU HAD UNTIL JULY 1, 1924, IN WHICH TO EXPEND YOUR ANNUAL LEAVE.

THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE NO RIGHT TO SETTLE STALE CLAIMS, NOR ARE THEY AUTHORIZED TO DIRECT PAYMENT OF CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT BASED SOLELY ON STATEMENTS FROM CLAIMANTS WHICH CANNOT BE VERIFIED OR CORROBORATED BY GOVERNMENT RECORDS. WHILE NO DEFINITE INFORMATION EVIDENCING SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM NO. 060724 IS NOW AVAILABLE, WHERE A CLAIMANT HAS SLEPT ON HIS RIGHTS FOR MORE THAN 31 YEARS HE IS GUILTY OF LACHES AND THE PRESUMPTION ARISES THAT THE CLAIM WAS NEVER VALID OR THAT SETTLEMENT THEREOF HAS BEEN EFFECTED.

THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT SHALL REJECT OR DISALLOW ALL THOSE CLAIMS OR ACCOUNTS AS TO WHICH THEY BELIEVE THERE MAY BE SUBSTANTIAL DEFENSE IN LAW, OR AS TO THE VALIDITY OF WHICH THEY ARE IN DOUBT. LONGWILL V. UNITED STATES, 17 C.CLS. 288, 291; CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 ID. 316, 319.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE ACTION HERETOFORE TAKEN WHICH DENIED FAVORABLE ACTION UPON YOUR CLAIM.