B-154193, JUL. 23, 1964

B-154193: Jul 23, 1964

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OREM AND CHRISTIE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27. NOS. 4-NGF-241 AND DA-171-QM/HHG/-9 WERE ENTERED INTO WITH JOSEPH B. GOTTFRIED OBTAINED A WRIT OF RESTITUTION WHICH WAS SERVED ON DECEMBER 31. THE MARYLAND MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY WAS LOCKED OUT OF THE WAREHOUSE. THAT THE UNITED STATES WAS ADVISED OF THIS FACT BY A LETTER DATED JANUARY 3. WAS FORMALLY TERMINATED FOR DEFAULT ON FEBRUARY 6. THAT THE LAST LOT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS REMOVED FROM THE LANDLORD'S (GOTTFRIED) BUILDING BY THE SUCCESSOR CONTRACTOR ON MARCH 23. IT IS REPORTED THAT SINCE ITEM V OF THE SCHEDULE OF SERVICES AND RATES FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF THE AGREEMENT PROVIDED THAT THE CONTRACTOR WOULD BE PAID ONE-HALF OF A MONTH'S STORAGE CHARGES FOR PERIODS OF 15 DAYS OR LESS.

B-154193, JUL. 23, 1964

TO DUCKETT, OREM AND CHRISTIE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, IN BEHALF OF PAUL M. GOTTFRIED, CONCERNING HIS CLAIM FOR STORAGE CHARGES FROM JANUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 15, 1963.

IT APPEARS THAT BASIC AGREEMENT FOR STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND RELATED SERVICES, NOS. 4-NGF-241 AND DA-171-QM/HHG/-9 WERE ENTERED INTO WITH JOSEPH B. HARDING, TRADING AS THE MARYLAND MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY, ON FEBRUARY 2, 1959, AND MARCH 1, 1961, RESPECTIVELY; THAT UNDER SAID AGREEMENTS HARDING PROVIDED STORAGE FACILITIES AND WAREHOUSING SERVICES IN A WAREHOUSE LEASED BY HIM FROM PAUL M. GOTTFRIED; THAT PRIOR TO DECEMBER 31, 1962, HARDING DEFAULTED UNDER THE TERMS OF HIS LEASE AND, AS A RESULT, GOTTFRIED OBTAINED A WRIT OF RESTITUTION WHICH WAS SERVED ON DECEMBER 31, 1962, AND THE MARYLAND MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY WAS LOCKED OUT OF THE WAREHOUSE; THAT THE UNITED STATES WAS ADVISED OF THIS FACT BY A LETTER DATED JANUARY 3, 1963.

IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT FOLLOWING THE LOCK-OUT OF THE CONTRACTOR (HARDING) BY HIS LANDLORD FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT, THE RIGHT OF THE CONTRACTOR TO PROCEED FURTHER WITH THE PERFORMANCE UNDER THE AGREEMENT, WAS FORMALLY TERMINATED FOR DEFAULT ON FEBRUARY 6, 1963; AND THAT THE LAST LOT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS REMOVED FROM THE LANDLORD'S (GOTTFRIED) BUILDING BY THE SUCCESSOR CONTRACTOR ON MARCH 23, 1963.

IT IS REPORTED THAT SINCE ITEM V OF THE SCHEDULE OF SERVICES AND RATES FOR HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF THE AGREEMENT PROVIDED THAT THE CONTRACTOR WOULD BE PAID ONE-HALF OF A MONTH'S STORAGE CHARGES FOR PERIODS OF 15 DAYS OR LESS, THE DEFAULTED CONTRACTOR SHOULD BE GIVEN CREDIT FOR STORAGE CHARGES THAT WOULD HAVE ACCRUED THROUGH FEBRUARY 15, 1963. IT IS ALSO REPORTED THAT STORAGE CHARGES COMPUTED AT THE RATES PROVIDED IN THE DEFAULTED CONTRACT FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 THROUGH MARCH 23, 1963, WOULD HAVE TOTALLED $1,347.65, WITH THE AMOUNT OF $828.06 APPLICABLE TO THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 15, 1963, AND THE BALANCE OF $519.59 APPLICABLE TO THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 16 THROUGH MARCH 23, 1963.

BY SETTLEMENTS DATED NOVEMBER 20, 1963, THE CLAIMANT LANDLORD WAS ALLOWED THE AGGREGATE SUM OF $519.59, ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, FOR STORAGE CHARGES FROM FEBRUARY 16, 1963, TO THE APPROPRIATE DATES OF REMOVAL OF GOODS FROM THE WAREHOUSE, COMPUTED AT THE RATE SET OUT IN THE DEFAULTED CONTRACT.

REQUEST IS NOW MADE FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER AND THE CLAIM IS REASSERTED FOR STORAGE CHARGES FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 15, 1963.

WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE FORMER LANDLORD (GOTTFRIED) DID NOT PERFORM ANY SERVICES OF A WAREHOUSING NATURE, BUT THAT BARE STORAGE SPACE WAS OCCUPIED FROM JANUARY 1, 1963, TO THE SEVERAL DATES OF REMOVAL OF THE STORED HOUSEHOLD GOODS.

THERE CAN BE NO QUESTION THAT THE EXECUTION OF THE WRIT OF RESTITUTION AND ENTRY OF THE LANDLORD INTO ACTUAL POSSESSION OF THE WAREHOUSE EFFECTIVELY TERMINATED THE LEASE OF THE MARYLAND MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY, AND RENDERED THEM UNABLE TO PERFORM THAT PART OF THEIR CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDING FOR STORAGE, AND FURNISHED A PROPER BASIS FOR THE FORMAL TERMINATION OF THE GOVERNMENT CONTRACT. NOR DID, OR COULD THE CONTRACTOR PERFORM ANY SERVICES OF A WAREHOUSING NATURE ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1963. HENCE, WE SEE NO BASIS FOR CREDITING THE DEFAULTING CONTRACTOR WITH ANY CREDITS FOR PERIODS FOLLOWING ITS DISPOSSESSION OF THE WAREHOUSE.

IT THEN BECAME INCUMBENT UPON THE GOVERNMENT TO REMOVE ITS PROPERTY IN THE WAREHOUSE AS PROMPTLY AS POSSIBLE OR REACH SOME AGREEMENT WITH THE LANDLORD. WE, THEREFORE, BELIEVE THAT GOTTFRIED'S CLAIM MAY BE CONSIDERED ON THE PRINCIPLE THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY AGREEMENT, A LANDLORD IS ENTITLED TO A REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR THE STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON HIS PROPERTY. IT CANNOT BE ASSUMED THAT THE LANDLORD AGREED TO PERMIT STORAGE FREE OF CHARGE UNTIL REMOVAL. HENCE, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE STORAGE RATE IN THE DEFAULTED CONTRACT REPRESENTS REASONABLE COMPENSATION. ARE, THEREFORE, DIRECTING ISSUANCE OF A SETTLEMENT IN FAVOR OF PAUL M. GOTTFRIED, IN THE AMOUNT OF $828.06 AS FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT OF HIS CLAIM FOR STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 1 THROUGH FEBRUARY 15, 1963.