B-166916, JUN. 5, 1969

B-166916: Jun 5, 1969

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RYDQUIST: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER. CRUMB'S TRANSFER WAS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 12. REQUIRED ALL THE SALE PAPERS TO BE CHANGED AND THE CHANGES WERE DELAYED BECAUSE MR. CRUMB WAS UNABLE TO SECURE A COPY OF HIS WIFE'S DEATH CERTIFICATE UNTIL JANUARY 1969. THE CLOSING WAS MADE ON FEBRUARY 18. THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.'.

B-166916, JUN. 5, 1969

TO MISS MARY M. RYDQUIST:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER, REFERENCE 1382 (D-832), REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER FOR $2,308.50 IN FAVOR OF MR. DAVID J. CRUMB, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY, TO REIMBURSE HIM FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE SALE OF HIS HOUSE INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER FROM ROSEBURG, OREGON, TO PINEDALE, WYOMING.

MR. CRUMB'S TRANSFER WAS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 12, 1968, AND HE ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT TO SELL HIS HOUSE ON NOVEMBER 13, 1968. THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE ON NOVEMBER 23, 1968, REQUIRED ALL THE SALE PAPERS TO BE CHANGED AND THE CHANGES WERE DELAYED BECAUSE MR. CRUMB WAS UNABLE TO SECURE A COPY OF HIS WIFE'S DEATH CERTIFICATE UNTIL JANUARY 1969. THE CLOSING WAS MADE ON FEBRUARY 18, 1969, MORE THAN 1 YEAR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF MR. CRUMB'S TRANSFER. YOU ASK WHETHER THE DELAYS IN OBTAINING MRS. CRUMB'S DEATH CERTIFICATE MAY BE CONSIDERED IN THE SAME LIGHT AS LITIGATION AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

SECTION 4.1D OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 SETS FORTH THE FOLLOWING CONDITION FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS:

"D. THE SETTLEMENT DATES FOR THE SALE AND PURCHASE OR LEASE TERMINATION TRANSACTIONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS REQUESTED ARE NOT LATER THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION, EXCEPT THAT AN APPROPRIATE EXTENSION OF TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DESIGNEE WHEN SETTLEMENT IS NECESSARILY DELAYED BECAUSE OF LITIGATION.'

AS DEFINED IN BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY, FOURTH EDITION, WEST PUBLISHING COMPANY, 1951, THE TERM ,LITIGATION" MEANS A CONTEST IN A COURT OF JUSTICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENFORCING A RIGHT; A JUDICIAL CONTEST; A JUDICIAL CONTROVERSY; A SUIT AT LAW. WE HAVE HELD THAT THE TERM WAS TO BE GIVEN ITS USUAL MEANING, I.E., ACTION BEFORE A COURT. SEE B 166666, MAY 9, 1969, COPY ENCLOSED.

WHILE PROBATE PROCEEDINGS IN A COURT MIGHT BE CONSIDERED "LITIGATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM IN CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE INSTANT CASE TO INDICATE THAT THE DELAY IN CLOSING THE SALE TRANSACTION WAS ATTRIBUTABLE TO ANY CAUSE OTHER THAN MR. CRUMB'S INABILITY TO TIMELY OBTAIN HIS WIFE'S DEATH CERTIFICATE. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.