B-141810, FEB. 10, 1960

B-141810: Feb 10, 1960

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DUGGINS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 1959 IN WHICH YOU REQUEST CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $60. WHICH IS BASED ON THE ALLEGATION THAT A GOVERNMENT AGENT WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE EASTERN STATE HOSPITAL. THE ONLY CLAIMS WHICH ARE CONSIDERED UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 10. ARE THOSE WHICH COULD BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED BY THIS OFFICE BUT FOR THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE ADJUSTMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS. WERE ADVISED BY THIS OFFICE THAT TITLE 18. UNDER WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGN OR GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR TORTS COMMITTED IN ITS SERVICE BY ITS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES UNLESS IT CONSENTS TO SUCH LIABILITY.

B-141810, FEB. 10, 1960

TO MR. WILLIAM G. DUGGINS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 1959 IN WHICH YOU REQUEST CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR DAMAGES IN THE AMOUNT OF $60,000, OR ANY REASONABLE PART THEREOF, UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928, 31 U.S.C. 236, WHICH AUTHORIZES THE REPORTING TO CONGRESS OF CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. YOUR CLAIM, WHICH IS BASED ON THE ALLEGATION THAT A GOVERNMENT AGENT WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN BRINGING ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT TO THE EASTERN STATE HOSPITAL, WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA, ON JUNE 8, 1946, WITH THE RESULT THAT YOUR WIFE DIVORCED YOU ON JULY 20, 1948, AND OBTAINED CUSTODY OF YOUR CHILD, SOUNDS IN TORT.

THE ONLY CLAIMS WHICH ARE CONSIDERED UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928, 31 U.S.C. 236, ARE THOSE WHICH COULD BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED BY THIS OFFICE BUT FOR THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE ADJUSTMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS, AND WHICH CONTAIN SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO DESERVE CONSIDERATION BY CONGRESS. 34 COMP. GEN. 490.

IN A PREVIOUS LETTER TO THIS OFFICE DATED DECEMBER 20, 1957, YOU CITED CERTAIN SECTIONS OF TITLE 18 OF THE U.S.C. AND WERE ADVISED BY THIS OFFICE THAT TITLE 18, WHICH RELATES TO "CRIMES AND PROCEDURE," CONCERNS MATTERS OVER WHICH THIS OFFICE HAS NO JURISDICTION.

UNDER WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE DOCTRINE OF SOVEREIGN OR GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT LIABLE FOR TORTS COMMITTED IN ITS SERVICE BY ITS OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES UNLESS IT CONSENTS TO SUCH LIABILITY. SUCH CONSENT HAS BEEN GIVEN IN REGARD TO CERTAIN TORT CLAIMS UNDER THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT OF 1946, 28 U.S.C. 2671-2680. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, THE HEAD OF EACH FEDERAL AGENCY IS GIVEN EXCLUSIVE AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER AND SETTLE CLAIMS FOR MONEY DAMAGES OF $2,500 OR LESS. (SEE 28 U.S.C. 2672.) EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION OF CIVIL ACTIONS ON CLAIMS FOR MONEY DAMAGES OVER THAT AMOUNT IS VESTED IN THE FEDERAL DISTRICT COURTS. (SEE 28 U.S.C. 1346 (B).) CONSEQUENTLY, THIS OFFICE HAS NO JURISDICTION UNDER THE ACT WITH RESPECT TO TORT CLAIMS ARISING IN ANY FEDERAL AGENCY OTHER THAN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. WE ARE NOT AUTHORIZED, THEREFORE, TO DETERMINE WHETHER ANY ELEMENTS OF LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THE GOVERNMENT ARISE FROM YOUR CLAIM.

WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT SINCE YOUR CLAIM IS FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM COMMITMENT OR CONFINEMENT OF THE PERSON, IT APPEARS TO COME WITHIN THE AREA OF TORT ACTIONS CONCERNING INTERFERENCE WITH THE PERSON SUCH AS FALSE IMPRISONMENT. SINCE CLAIMS "ARISING OUT OF ASSAULT, BATTERY, FALSE IMPRISONMENT, FALSE ARREST, MALICIOUS PROSECUTION, ABUSE OF PROCESS, LIBEL, SLANDER, MISREPRESENTATION, DECEIT, OR INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACT RIGHTS" ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT (28 U.S.C. 2680 (H) (, NO LIABILITY WOULD ATTACH TO THE GOVERNMENT AS A RESULT OF A CLAIM WHICH IS DETERMINED BY THE COURT OR AGENCY HAVING JURISDICTION OF THE CLAIM TO COME WITHIN THIS CATEGORY.

SINCE YOUR CLAIM IS NOT ONE WHICH WOULD BE SETTLED AND ADJUSTED BY THIS OFFICE, IT MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928, 31 U.S.C. 236.