B-160973, AUG. 21, 1967

B-160973: Aug 21, 1967

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WHICH WAS PRESENTED TO NAVY DEPT. THE FACT THAT IT WAS PRESENTED TO THE NAVY DEPT. WITHIN 3 YEARS IS IMMATERIAL SINCE IT WAS A CLAIM COGNIZABLE BY GAO AT TIME OF REFERRAL TO GAO AND THREE YEAR STATUTE BARS CONSIDERATION. WHICH WAS REFERRED TO US BY THE U.S. THE CLAIM IS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF NAVY LIEUTENANT ROBERT A. THE CARRIER'S BILL AND SUPPORTING PAPERS WERE RETURNED BECAUSE THE CLAIM WAS BARRED UNDER SECTION 322 OF THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940. WHICHEVER IS LATER.'. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN TWO LOTS. 740 POUNDS WAS TAKEN TO THE GUARDIAN VAN AND STORAGE WAREHOUSE FOR STORAGE ON JUNE 26. THE GOODS WERE DELIVERED TO LIEUTENANT HALL'S RESIDENCE.

B-160973, AUG. 21, 1967

TRANSPORTATION - FREIGHT CHARGES - (CLAIMS BARRED BY 3 YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATION) DECISION RE CLAIM BY FORD VAN LINES, INC., FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF NAVY OFFICER. CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION SERVICES PERFORMED ON APRIL 21, 1962, WHICH WAS PRESENTED TO NAVY DEPT. ON JUNE 21, 1965 AND REFERRED TO GAO ON JULY 20, 1965, MUST BE REGARDED AS A CLAIM BARRED UNDER SEC. 322, TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940. 49 U.S.C. 66 AND, THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT IT WAS PRESENTED TO THE NAVY DEPT. WITHIN 3 YEARS IS IMMATERIAL SINCE IT WAS A CLAIM COGNIZABLE BY GAO AT TIME OF REFERRAL TO GAO AND THREE YEAR STATUTE BARS CONSIDERATION.

TO CHARLES E. WRIGHT, ESQUIRE:

PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 26, 1966, ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, WHICH WAS REFERRED TO US BY THE U.S. NAVY FINANCE CENTER, CONCERNING A CLAIM BY FORD VAN LINES, INC., FOR SERVICES PERFORMED UNDER GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING A-1141596. IN ESSENCE, YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF THE ACTION BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION IN RETURNING THE UNPAID CLAIM (ON BILL FVL 500-695) TO THE CARRIER WITH A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 14, 1965. THE CLAIM IS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF NAVY LIEUTENANT ROBERT A. HALL'S HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THE CARRIER'S BILL AND SUPPORTING PAPERS WERE RETURNED BECAUSE THE CLAIM WAS BARRED UNDER SECTION 322 OF THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940, AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAW 85-762, 49 U.S.C. 66.

SECTION 322, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"* * * THAT EVERY CLAIM COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR CHARGES FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM SHALL BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN THREE YEARS (NOT INCLUDING ANY TIME OF WAR) FROM THE DATE OF (1) ACCRUAL OF THE CAUSE OF ACTION THEREON, OR (2) PAYMENT OF CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION INVOLVED, OR (3) SUBSEQUENT REFUND FOR OVERPAYMENT OF SUCH CHARGES, OR (4) DEDUCTION MADE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, WHICHEVER IS LATER.'

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS ACCOMPLISHED IN TWO LOTS. THE FIRST LOT OF 2,740 POUNDS WAS TAKEN TO THE GUARDIAN VAN AND STORAGE WAREHOUSE FOR STORAGE ON JUNE 26, 1962, AND TWO DAYS LATER, ON JUNE 28, 1962, THE GOODS WERE DELIVERED TO LIEUTENANT HALL'S RESIDENCE, 837 PEDERSEN COURT, PACIFIC GROVE, CALIFORNIA. THE SECOND LOT, WEIGHING 3,210 POUNDS, WAS DELIVERED TO THE RESIDENCE ON JULY 8, 1962. BILL FVL 500-695 WAS FIRST PRESENTED FOR PAYMENT TO THE U.S. NAVY FINANCE CENTER ON APRIL 21, 1965, AND WAS RETURNED TO THE CARRIER, WHICH SAYS THAT IT THEN SUBMITTED THE BILL TO THE U.S. NAVAL WEAPONS PLANT, WASHINGTON, D.C. ON JUNE 21, 1965, THE BILL AND RELATED PAPERS WERE AGAIN STAMPED AND RECEIVED BY THE U.S. NAVY FINANCE CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS WAS WITHIN THREE YEARS AFTER DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT.

THE NAVY FINANCE DEPARTMENT REFERRED THE BILLS TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT ON JULY 20, 1965, WHICH IS MORE THAN THREE YEARS AFTER DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT--THE EVENT WHICH FIXED THE TIME THE CAUSE OF ACTION FIRST ACCRUED. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION WAS OBLIGED TO RETURN THE CARRIER'S BILL BECAUSE IT WAS RECEIVED IN THE UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MORE THAN THREE YEARS AFTER THE SERVICE WAS PERFORMED.

THE REFUSAL TO PAY FORD VAN LINES' BILL IS PROPER NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE CLAIM WAS PRESENTED TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT WITHIN THE THREE YEAR LIMITATION PERIOD. UNDER THE LAW AND OUR REGULATIONS IT IS NOW IMMATERIAL THAT THE CARRIER'S BILL, WHICH WAS A CLAIM "COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE" AT THE TIME OF REFERRAL TO US FOR DISPOSITION, WAS RECEIVED BY THE NAVY WITHIN THREE YEARS FROM THE TIME THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUED. THE LAW IS DESIGNED TO TERMINATE CONTROVERSY AFTER A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME AND TO AFFORD THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE CARRIERS PROTECTION FROM OLD CLAIMS ON WHICH RECORDS HAVE BECOME DESTROYED, LOST OR IMPRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN.

PUBLISHED REGULATIONS OF OUR OFFICE, 4 CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS 54.6/A), PROVIDE:

"THE FILING OF A CLAIM WITH SOME OTHER AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS STATUTE; THE CLAIM MUST BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN 3 YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.' AND, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 54.6,"A CLAIMANT MAY FILE A CLAIM DIRECT WITH THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, PARTICULARLY IF THE APPLICABLE STATUTORY PERIOD OF LIMITATION IS ABOUT TO EXPIRE.' IF PARTICULAR COMPLETE DOCUMENTARY SUPPORT IS NOT AVAILABLE WHEN A CARRIER FINDS IT NECESSARY TO FILE ITS CLAIM WITH OUR OFFICE IN ORDER TO AVOID LOSING ITS RIGHT, BECAUSE OF THE TIME-BAR, TO COLLECT CHARGES BELIEVED TO BE DUE FROM THE GOVERNMENT, SUCH EVIDENCE AS MAY BE ASSEMBLED AFTER DILIGENT EFFORT SHOULD BE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE CLAIM.

AS WE HAVE INDICATED, FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE CARRIER'S CLAIM IS NOW BARRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE. ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION OF OUR TRANSPORTAION DIVISION IS AFFIRMED.