B-144395, NOVEMBER 17, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 307

B-144395: Nov 17, 1960

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DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENT OF INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS INVOLVED IN COURT ACTIONS IN WHICH SEVERAL PERSONS ARE JOINTED AS PLAINTIFFS SO LONG AS THE INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENT AWARDED EACH PLAINTIFF IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE $100. A JUDGMENT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS AWARDED TO ONE INDIVIDUAL IN A COURT ACTION IN WHICH NUMEROUS PERSONS WERE JOINED AS PLAINTIFFS AND WHICH WAS IN EXCESS OF THE $100. IS A JUDGMENT WHICH MUST BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION. THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE PLAINTIFF HARUE HAYASHI WAS AWARDED A JUDGMENT FOR $122. HER FIVE CHILDREN WERE AWARDED VARIOUS SUMS (EACH LESS THAN $100. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THEN FORWARDED A TRANSCRIPT OF THE JUDGMENT TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF OUR OFFICE IN ORDER THAT THE PLAINTIFFS WHOSE AWARDS WERE NOT APPEALED COULD BE PAID FROM THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION.

B-144395, NOVEMBER 17, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 307

APPROPRIATIONS - JUDGMENTS - LIMITATION - SEVERAL JUDGMENTS IN ONE CASE THE $100,000 LIMITATION ON PAYMENTS FROM THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION FOR FOR JUDGMENTS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN SECTION 1302, SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, 31 U.S.C. 724A, REFERS TO A JUDGMENT IN EXCESS OF $100,000 AWARDED EITHER TO A SINGLE PLAINTIFF OR TO TWO MORE PLAINTIFFS JOINTLY, AND DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENT OF INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS INVOLVED IN COURT ACTIONS IN WHICH SEVERAL PERSONS ARE JOINTED AS PLAINTIFFS SO LONG AS THE INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENT AWARDED EACH PLAINTIFF IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE $100,000 LIMITATION. A JUDGMENT AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS AWARDED TO ONE INDIVIDUAL IN A COURT ACTION IN WHICH NUMEROUS PERSONS WERE JOINED AS PLAINTIFFS AND WHICH WAS IN EXCESS OF THE $100,000 LIMITATION IN SECTION 1302, SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, 31 U.S.C. 724A, WHICH ESTABLISHES A PERMANENT APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF JUDGMENTS NOT IN EXCESS OF $100,000 IN ANY ONE CASE, IS A JUDGMENT WHICH MUST BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION; HOWEVER, THE INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS IN AMOUNTS LESS THAN $100,000 INVOLVED IN THE SAME COURT ACTION MAY BE PAID FROM THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION FOR JUDGMENTS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 17, 1960:

BY LETTER OF NOVEMBER 4, 1960, THE FISCAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, REQUESTED A DECISION CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION ESTABLISHED BY SECTION 1302 OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, 70 STAT. 694, 31 U.S.C. 724A, TO PAY CERTAIN OF THE JUDGMENT CREDITORS IN THE CASE OF HARUE HAYASHI, ET AL. V. UNITED STATES, CIVIL NO. 1575, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF HAWAII.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE PLAINTIFF HARUE HAYASHI WAS AWARDED A JUDGMENT FOR $122,150 BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND. HER FIVE CHILDREN WERE AWARDED VARIOUS SUMS (EACH LESS THAN $100,000) AND SEVERAL OTHER PLAINTIFFS RECEIVED AWARDS FOR PERSONAL INJURIES OR PROPERTY LOSSES (LIKEWISE, EACH LESS THAN $100,000).

THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE APPEALED THE JUDGMENTS AWARDED TO THE WIDOW AND CHILDREN BUT TOOK NO APPEAL WITH RESPECT TO THE OTHER PLAINTIFFS. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THEN FORWARDED A TRANSCRIPT OF THE JUDGMENT TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF OUR OFFICE IN ORDER THAT THE PLAINTIFFS WHOSE AWARDS WERE NOT APPEALED COULD BE PAID FROM THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION.

SUBSEQUENTLY, THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED THE JUDGMENT OF THE DISTRICT COURT AND A TRANSCRIPT THEREOF WAS FURNISHED YOUR DEPARTMENT IN ORDER THAT AN APPROPRIATION MAY BE OBTAINED FOR THE PAYMENT THEREOF.

THE FISCAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE AMOUNTS AWARDED THE FIVE CHILDREN MUST BE SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR OR WHETHER THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF CERTAIN JUDGMENTS MAY BE USED TO PAY THESE AWARDS.

SECTION 1302 OF THE SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, 31 U.S.C. 724A, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE APPROPRIATED, OUT OF ANY MONEY IN THE TREASURY NOT OTHERWISE APPROPRIATED, AND OUT OF POSTAL REVENUES, RESPECTIVELY, SUCH SUMS AS MAY HEREAFTER BE NECESSARY FOR THE PAYMENT, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED (SIC) FOR, AS CERTIFIED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, OF JUDGMENTS (NOT IN EXCESS OF $100,000 IN ANY ONE CASE) RENDERED BY THE DISTRICT COURTS AND THE COURT OF CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH HAVE BECOME FINAL * * *.

DISPOSITION OF THE QUESTION PRESENTED FOR DECISION NECESSARILY INVOLVES THE MEANING THE CONGRESS INTENDED BE GIVEN TO THE LIMITATION "NOT IN EXCESS OF $100,000 IN ANY ONE CASE.' A REVIEW OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 1302 DISCLOSES NOTHING OF SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN THIS REGARD EXCEPT THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE IN ESTABLISHING THE APPROPRIATION WAS TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROMPT PAYMENT OF JUDGMENTS AND TO THEREBY ELIMINATE OR GREATLY REDUCE THE COSTS OF INTERESTS THEREON.

IT SEEM PERTINENT TO NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT RULE 20 OF THE RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE FOR THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS, SET FORTH IN THE APPENDIX OF 28 U.S.C., PROVIDES THAT ALL PERSONS MAY JOIN IN ONE ACTION AS PLAINTIFFS IF THEY ASSERT ANY RIGHT TO RELIEF JOINTLY, SEVERALLY, OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE IN RESPECT OF OR ARISING OUT OF THE SAME TRANSACTION OR OCCURRENCES AND JUDGMENT MAY BE GIVEN FOR ONE OR MORE PLAINTIFFS ACCORDING TO THEIR RESPECTIVE RIGHTS FOR RELIEF. THE RULES ALSO PROVIDE FOR MANDATORY JOINDER OF PARTIES IN CERTAIN CASES.

IN THE INSTANT CASE IT APPEARS THAT EACH PLAINTIFF HAS A CAUSE OF ACTION AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND COULD HAVE SUED INDIVIDUALLY. ANY FINAL JUDGMENT THUS RECEIVED, IF LESS THAN $100,000, CLEARLY WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FROM THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION. THE JOINING OF ALL OF THE PARTIES IN ONE SUIT IS MERELY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE COURT AND THE PARTIES. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING AND IN CONSONANCE WITH THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE PERMANENT FUND WAS ESTABLISHED WE BELIEVE THE LIMITATION ON PAYMENTS FROM THE FUND REFERS GENERALLY TO A JUDGMENT IN EXCESS OF $100,000, AWARDED EITHER TO A SINGLE PLAINTIFF OR TO TWO OR MORE PLAINTIFFS JOINTLY.

IT IS OUR VIEW, THEREFORE, THAT ONLY THAT AMOUNT AWARDED THE WIDOW IN THE INSTANT CASE IS REQUIRED TO BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS FOR A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT THEREOF. ACCORDINGLY, APPROPRIATE ACTION WILL BE INITIATED HERE TO PROCESS FOR PAYMENT THE CLAIMS OF THE JUDGMENT- CREDITOR CHILDREN.

ALSO, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT FUTURE SIMILAR JUDGMENTS NOT EXCEEDING $100,000 EACH, EVEN THOUGH INVOLVED IN A SINGLE COURT CASE WHERE THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE INDIVIDUAL JUDGMENTS EXCEED $100,000 MAY BE CERTIFIED BY US FOR PAYMENT FROM THE PERMANENT FUND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 1302, SUPRA. ..END :