B-140355, SEP. 10, 1959

B-140355: Sep 10, 1959

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MC: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 13. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED FROM GOVERNMENT STORAGE AT BELLE MEAD GENERAL DEPOT. THE SHIPMENT WAS MADE ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WHICH DESCRIBED IT AS CONSISTING OF 15 BOXES OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. SINCE THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS SHIPPED EXCEEDED YOUR AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXCESS COST INCURRED. YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THE WEIGHT OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL BOOKS. EQUIPMENT WHICH YOU BELIEVE WAS APPROXIMATELY 2. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF SUCH CLAIM.

B-140355, SEP. 10, 1959

TO COLONEL ROBERT B. SKINNER, MC:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 13, 1959, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF JULY 8, 1959, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $50.10 REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT COLLECTED FROM YOU AS THE EXCESS COST OF SHIPPING YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS. THERE ALSO HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1959, FURNISHING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED FROM GOVERNMENT STORAGE AT BELLE MEAD GENERAL DEPOT, SOMERVILLE, NEW JERSEY, TO FORT BENNING, GEORGIA, INCIDENT TO SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 250, DATED OCTOBER 30, 1957. THE SHIPMENT WAS MADE ON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WHICH DESCRIBED IT AS CONSISTING OF 15 BOXES OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. SINCE THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS SHIPPED EXCEEDED YOUR AUTHORIZED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXCESS COST INCURRED. YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR THE WEIGHT OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT WHICH YOU BELIEVE WAS APPROXIMATELY 2,250 POUNDS. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF SUCH CLAIM. IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW YOU STATE YOU HAD NO CONTROL OVER THE REQUIREMENT THAT PROFESSIONAL BOOKS BE PACKED SEPARATELY. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT:

"* * * MY HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE PICKED UP AT MY QUARTERS AT FORT DIX AND MOVED TO TRENTON IN A VAN WITHOUT BEING PACKED OR CRATED. SOMETIME LATER THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PACKED AND CRATED TO TRENTON AND SUBSEQUENTLY SHIPPED TO THE STORAGE DEPOT. THOUGH I INDICATED TO THE FIRM AT THE TIME THAT MY HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PICKED UP WHICH WERE PROFESSIONAL BOOKS AND EQUIPMENT, HOWEVER, WHEN THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE PACKED AND CRATED NO SEPARATION WAS MADE.'

WITH YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1959, YOU FURNISHED A COPY OF AN INDORSEMENT DATED JUNE 8, 1959, FROM THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER, FORT DIX, NEW JERSEY, STATING THAT WHEN YOUR EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED FROM FORT DIX TO BELLE MEADE GENERAL DEPOT FOR PERMANENT STORAGE, THEY WERE PACKED AND CRATED BY THE PETRY EXPRESS AND STORAGE COMPANY, TRENTON, NEW JERSEY; AND THAT WHILE THE PACKING LIST FURNISHED BY THE CARRIER INDICATED THERE WERE 17 BOOK CARTONS PACKED, THERE WAS NO INFORMATION ON FILE AS TO THE SEPARATE WEIGHT OF THE BOOKS. IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20 YOU STATE THAT OF THE 17 BOOK CARTONS WHICH WERE PACKED AND CRATED YOU ESTIMATE THAT 10 OR MORE CONTAINED PROFESSIONAL BOOKS. PREVIOUSLY. YOU HAD STATED THAT 10 OF THE 15 BOXES LISTED ON THE ORIGINAL INVENTORY OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, STANDARD FORM 117, CONTAINED MEDICAL BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT.

THE SHIPPING OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES IS GOVERNED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 37 U.S.C. 253 (C). PARAGRAPH 8002 OF THOSE REGULATIONS, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME HERE INVOLVED, PROVIDED THAT WHEN CERTIFIED BY THE MEMBER AS NECESSARY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, SHIPMENT OF PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT UNDER THESE REGULATIONS SHOULD BE IN THE SAME MANNER AND UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS OTHER HOUSEHOLD GOODS, EXCEPT THAT THE WEIGHT THEREOF SHOULD BE WITHOUT CHARGE AGAINST THE PRESCRIBED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE IF THEY WERE PACKED SEPARATELY, THE CONTAINERS WERE MARKED "PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT," AND THE WEIGHT WAS SHOWN SEPARATELY ON THE BILL OF LADING OR OTHER SHIPPING DOCUMENT. IN THE PRESENT CASE, YOUR PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS, AND EQUIPMENT WERE NOT PACKED SEPARATELY, THEY WERE NOT SO MARKED, AND THE WEIGHT WAS NOT SHOWN SEPARATELY ON THE BILL OF LADING OR OTHER SHIPMENT DOCUMENT.

IN ORDER THAT PROFESSIONAL BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT MAY BE INCLUDED IN A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WITHOUT BEING CHARGED AGAINST THE WEIGHT ALLOWANCE OF THE OWNER, THE WEIGHT OF SUCH BOOKS, ETC., MUST BE ESTABLISHED WITH LEGAL CERTAINTY. A MERE APPROXIMATION DOES NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW SINCE PUBLIC FUNDS MAY BE DISBURSED ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL FACTS INVOLVED. THE REGULATIONS SET FORTH THE OFFICIAL METHOD OF DETERMINING SUCH WEIGHT. A WEIGHT THUS ESTABLISHED IS EXACT AND CERTAIN. THAT METHOD WAS NOT FOLLOWED IN THIS CASE AND YOU HAVE SUBMITTED NO INFORMATION WHICH WOULD FURNISH A LEGAL BASIS FOR DETERMINING SUCH WEIGHT. YOUR ESTIMATE THAT THE BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT WEIGHED APPROXIMATELY 2,250 POUNDS IS NOT SUPPORTED BY ANY EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD INDICATE THE ACCURACY OF THAT ESTIMATE. TO THE CONTRARY, IT IS NOTED THAT EACH OF THE 15 BOXES LISTED ON THE ORIGINAL INVENTORY OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND WHICH CONSTITUTED A PART OF THE SHIPMENT INVOLVED ARE SHOWN TO HAVE A CAPACITY OF ONLY TWO CUBIC FEET. IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT 2,250 POUNDS OF BOOKS, PAPERS AND EQUIPMENT COULD HAVE BEEN PACKED IN THE 30 CUBIC FEET CONTAINED IN ALL 15 OF SUCH BOXES.

THERE BEING NO WAY OF DETERMINING THE EXACT AMOUNT TO WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, THE SETTLEMENT OF JULY 8, 1959, IS SUSTAINED.