B-145913, JUN. 15, 1961

B-145913: Jun 15, 1961

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WAS OF SUCH DOUBTFUL NATURE AS TO BE MORE PROPERLY FOR JUDICIAL CONSIDERATION THAN BY OUR OFFICE. THE REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY WAS THOROUGHLY CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 18. UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER IT WAS FURTHER CONSIDERED. MERRITT'S CLAIM IS OF SUCH DOUBTFUL NATURE AS TO PRECLUDE FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION BY OUR OFFICE.

B-145913, JUN. 15, 1961

TO ANDREW L. BENSON, ESQUIRE:

WE REFER TO THE CLAIM OF ROBERT I. MERRITT, SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, THE SUBJECT OF YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2, 1961, WHEREIN YOU ADVISE US OF YOUR RETENTION AS ASSOCIATE COUNSEL FOR THE PURPOSE OF SUIT.

THE CLAIM OF MR. MERRITT INVOLVES DAMAGE BY FIRE OF A DWELLING LOCATED AT 281 RIVER ROAD, WINTHROP, MASSACHUSETTS, WHILE LEASED TO THE UNITED STATES. IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 18, 1961, TO WHICH YOU REFER, WE INDICATED THE RECORD FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE, AND TOOK THE POSITION THAT THE CLAIM, AT BEST, WAS OF SUCH DOUBTFUL NATURE AS TO BE MORE PROPERLY FOR JUDICIAL CONSIDERATION THAN BY OUR OFFICE.

YOUR LETTER INVITES OUR ATTENTION TO REPORT NO. 476 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, DATED MAY 31, 1960, WHEREIN THE INSPECTING OFFICER STATED, WITH REFERENCE TO CAUSE OF FIRE,"PROBABLY CARELESS SMOKING.' THE REPORT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY WAS THOROUGHLY CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 18, 1961. UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER IT WAS FURTHER CONSIDERED. WE FIND NO BASIS WARRANTING MODIFICATION OF THE POSITION PREVIOUSLY TAKEN. THE STATEMENT OF THE INSPECTING OFFICER REFLECTS A SPECULATIVE CONCLUSION THAT CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AS A POSITIVE FINDING OF FACT, RULING OUT OTHER CAUSES OF FIRE.

WE REGRETFULLY MUST INFORM YOU THAT WE REMAIN OF THE VIEW THAT MR. MERRITT'S CLAIM IS OF SUCH DOUBTFUL NATURE AS TO PRECLUDE FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION BY OUR OFFICE.