B-160780 February 8, 1967

B-160780: Feb 8, 1967

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O'Konski: Reference is made to your letter of January 26. Bartlett was advised by Mr. Much of his rutabaga crop was found to be adulterated and unfit for human consumption. Bartlett claims to have relied on erroneous information furnished to him by an official of the United States. His claim is one sounding in tort. We believe that the decisions cited above correctly held that the Meritorious Clains Act was not applicable to claims sounding in tort. It is our view that it would not be appropriate for us to present Mr.

B-160780 February 8, 1967

The Honorable Alvin R. O'Konski House of Representatives

Dear Mr. O'Konski:

Reference is made to your letter of January 26, 1967, concerning a crop loss suffered by Mr. Claude Bartlett of Windfall Farm, Exeland, Wisconsin. You ask to be advised of the possibility of Mr. Bartlett being conmpensated for such loss under the Meritorious Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 236.

Copies of correspondence forwarded with your letter disclose that in response to his inquiry, Mr. Bartlett was advised by Mr. Charles F. Koval, an official of the Department of Agriculture, that chlordane granules up to the rate of 2 pounds per acre could be used to control insects in the cultivation of rutabagas. Although Mr. Bartlett alleges that he used but 1 3/4 pounds of chlordane per acre, much of his rutabaga crop was found to be adulterated and unfit for human consumption. As a result thereof Mr. Bartlett asserts that he has suffered a loss of $30,000.

Inasmuch as Mr. Bartlett claims to have relied on erroneous information furnished to him by an official of the United States, his claim is one sounding in tort. The Meritorious Claims Act, approved April 10, 1928, consistently has been inbterpreted as not being applicable to tort claims against the United States. See 13 Comp. Gen. 406; 16 id. 642; 34 id. 490.

In view of the fact that the Congress has specifically provided a procedure for consideration of certain tort actions against the Government and has specifically excluded others, see 28 U.S.C. 2671-2680, we believe that the decisions cited above correctly held that the Meritorious Clains Act was not applicable to claims sounding in tort.

Accordingly, it is our view that it would not be appropriate for us to present Mr. Bartlett's claim to the Congress as a meritorious claim under the act of April 10, 1928.

Sincerely yours,

Frank H. Weitzel Assistant Comptroller General of the United States