B-140853, MAR. 29, 1963

B-140853: Mar 29, 1963

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B. JAMES FREIGHT LINES: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22. THE BILL OF LADING IS ANNOTATED AS FOLLOWS: TABLE "PRIORITY A AND B. GOVERNMENT QUOTATION NO. 1 WHICH PROVIDES: "WHEN SHIPMENT IS COMPLETELY LOADED ON EQUIPMENT ORDERED AND FURNISHED. YOU STATE THAT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE OF OPINION IS WHETHER THE ANNOTATION ON THE BILL OF LADING "NO. INDICATES THAT THE ANNOTATION COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN PLACED ON THE BILL OF LADING BY THE SHIPPING AGENCY. THE REPORT OF THAT AGENCY SHOWS THAT THE ANNOTATIONS WERE PLACED ON THE BILLS OF LADING BY THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER. THAT DUE TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OLD RECORDS IT IS UNABLE TO STATE THE REASON THE NOTATION WAS MADE. THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD TO INDICATE SUCH NOTATION WAS MERELY A RECORD OF THE EQUIPMENT ACTUALLY FURNISHED.

B-140853, MAR. 29, 1963

TO A. B. JAMES FREIGHT LINES:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1962, FILE N 679/51 UC-103A, IN EFFECT, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR DECISION OF MAY 14, 1962, B-148053, WHICH SUSTAINED THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR $29.46 ADDITIONAL TO $263.05 ORIGINALLY CLAIMED AND PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A SHIPMENT OF MISCELLANEOUS FREIGHT, WEIGHING 40,489 POUNDS, FROM OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, TO SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. N-13405606, DATED MAY 19, 1951. THE BILL OF LADING IS ANNOTATED AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

"PRIORITY A AND B--- IMMEDIATE SHIPMENT DANGEROUS PLACARD

APPLIED

"SECT. 22 QUOT. SWMTB NO. 1 S AND A NO. 983 APPLIES

"NO. TRUCKS 1 TYPE SET DOUBLES LENGTH 20 FEET EA"

YOUR LETTERS OF JUNE 22 AND JULY 12, 1962, QUESTION WHETHER THE LAST LINE OF THE QUOTED ANNOTATION ON THE BILL OF LADING MAKES APPLICABLE TO THIS SHIPMENT THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (B) OF RULE 120 OF SOUTHWESTERN MOTOR TARIFF BUREAU, U.S. GOVERNMENT QUOTATION NO. 1 WHICH PROVIDES:

"WHEN SHIPMENT IS COMPLETELY LOADED ON EQUIPMENT ORDERED AND FURNISHED, THEN CHARGES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ITEM SHALL NOT EXCEED THE CHARGES THAT WOULD ACCRUE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ITEM 110.'

IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1962, YOU STATE THAT THE ONLY DIFFERENCE OF OPINION IS WHETHER THE ANNOTATION ON THE BILL OF LADING "NO. TRUCKS 1 TYPE SET DBLES LENGTH 20 FEET EA" INDICATES THE TYPE OF EQUIPMENT ORDERED AND FURNISHED OR SIMPLY THE TYPE OF EQUIPMENT FURNISHED. YOUR LETTER OF JULY 12, 1962, INDICATES THAT THE ANNOTATION COULD ONLY HAVE BEEN PLACED ON THE BILL OF LADING BY THE SHIPPING AGENCY. THE REPORT OF THAT AGENCY SHOWS THAT THE ANNOTATIONS WERE PLACED ON THE BILLS OF LADING BY THE NAVAL SUPPLY CENTER, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, AT THE TIME OF SHIPMENT, AND THAT DUE TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE OLD RECORDS IT IS UNABLE TO STATE THE REASON THE NOTATION WAS MADE, AT THIS LATE DATE. HOWEVER, THE NOTATION ON THE BILL OF LADING WITH RESPECT TO THE EQUIPMENT SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT THE SHIPPING AGENCY KNEW OF THE QUANTITY OF ITEMS TO BE LOADED, ORDERED THE TYPE OF EQUIPMENT SUITABLE FOR THE SHIPMENT AND MADE THE NOTATION ACCORDINGLY. THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD TO INDICATE SUCH NOTATION WAS MERELY A RECORD OF THE EQUIPMENT ACTUALLY FURNISHED. YOU HAVE PRESENTED NO EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR ARGUMENT THAT THE TYPE OF EQUIPMENT USED FOR THIS SHIPMENT WAS NOT IN FACT ORDERED BY THE SHIPPING AGENCY.

IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT PERSONS CLAIMING AGAINST THE UNITED STATES MUST ESTABLISH CLEARLY THE FACTS AND PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THEIR CLAIMS ARE BASED AND THE BURDEN IMPOSED BY THIS RULE MUST BE MET SQUARELY IN EACH CASE IN ORDER TO JUSTIFY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN CERTIFYING SUCH CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT. MERE ARGUMENT WILL NOT SUFFICE. SEE UNITED STATES V. THE NEW YORK, NEW HAVEN AND HARTFORD RAILROAD COMPANY, 355 U.S. 258. SEE ALSO IN THIS CONNECTION JOHN H. CHARLES V. UNITED STATES, 19 CT.CL. 316/319), WHERE IT IS STATED THAT:

"WHEN, IN THE COURSE OF THE EXAMINATION OF ACCOUNTS IN THE DEPARTMENTS, SUSPICIONS ARE AROUSED OR DOUBTS ARE ENTERTAINED AS TO THE VALIDITY OF THE DEMANDS OF CLAIMANTS, THE PARTIES MAY BE SENT TO THIS COURT TO PROVE THEIR CASES UNDER THE RULES AND FORMS OF LAW, UPON LEGAL AND COMPETENT EVIDENCE, AND THEIR DEMANDS MAY BE REJECTED ALTOGETHER, LEAVING THE CLAIMANTS TO PROSECUTE THEM HERE UPON THEIR OWN VOLUNTARY PETITIONS, IF THEY SO DESIRE. THAT IS THE MAIN PROTECTION WHICH THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS CAN SECURE FOR THEMSELVES AND FOR THE GOVERNMENT IN THE CASE OF CLAIMS OF DOUBTFUL VALIDITY IN FACT OR IN LAW AND ESPECIALLY OF CLAIMS AS TO WHICH THERE IS A REASONABLE SUSPICION OF FRAUD, IRREGULARITY, OR ERROR.'

ALSO, WE HAVE EXAMINED THE DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL CITED IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1962, AND FIND NOTHING THEREIN WHICH IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE INSTANT CLAIM. ACCORDINGLY, OUR PREVIOUS DECISION IS AFFIRMED.