B-70113, OCTOBER 23, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 237

B-70113: Oct 23, 1947

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FINALLY DETERMINES THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO A CLAIM COVERED BY SECTION 403 (A) OF THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT IS THE APPROPRIATION OBLIGATED FOR AND CHARGEABLE WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF THE ADJUDICATED CLAIM. ( AMPLIFIED BY 27 COMP. 1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 6. THERE ARE PRESENTED FOUR POSSIBLE TIME ELEMENTS FOR CONSIDERATION. WHEN AN ACCIDENT OCCURS AND THERE IS PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE FILING OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. 2. WHEN A CLAIM IS FILED. 3. WHEN A CLAIM IS FINALLY SETTLED. AS IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER. THERE IS NO OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT ON A CLAIM COVERED BY THE SAID SECTION OF THE ACT UNTIL A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY IS MADE BY THE PERSON AUTHORIZED TO DO SO THEREUNDER.

B-70113, OCTOBER 23, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 237

APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - PAYMENT OF CLAIMS UNDER FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE HEAD OF A FEDERAL AGENCY, OR HIS DESIGNEE, FINALLY DETERMINES THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO A CLAIM COVERED BY SECTION 403 (A) OF THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT IS THE APPROPRIATION OBLIGATED FOR AND CHARGEABLE WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF THE ADJUDICATED CLAIM. ( AMPLIFIED BY 27 COMP. GEN. 445.)

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, OCTOBER 23, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 6, 1947, REFERRING TO THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT APPROVED BY CONGRESS AUGUST 2, 1946, TITLE IV OF PUBLIC LAW NO. 601, 79TH CONGRESS, 60 STAT. 842, ET SEQ., AND REQUESTING INSTRUCTIONS ON THE BASIS OF WHICH IT MAY BE DETERMINED, IN EACH CASE, THE TIME AT WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE SHOULD CONSIDER ITS FUNDS OBLIGATED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AWARDS THEREUNDER, AND THE FISCAL YEAR TO BE CHARGED.

IN YOUR LETTER, THERE ARE PRESENTED FOUR POSSIBLE TIME ELEMENTS FOR CONSIDERATION, AS FOLLOWS:

1. WHEN AN ACCIDENT OCCURS AND THERE IS PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE WHICH MAY RESULT IN THE FILING OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

2. WHEN A CLAIM IS FILED.

3. WHEN A CLAIM HAS BEEN INVESTIGATED, AND LEGAL OPINION HAS BEEN RENDERED TO THE EFFECT THAT IT MAY PROPERLY BE SETTLED AND PAID.

4. WHEN A CLAIM IS FINALLY SETTLED, AS EVIDENCED BY THE SIGNATURE OF THE OFFICER EMPOWERED TO SETTLE SUCH CLAIMS, ON A VOUCHER CALLING FOR ITS PAYMENT.

THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT, BY SECTION 403 (A), 60 STAT. 843, CONFERS UPON THE HEAD OF EACH FEDERAL AGENCY, OR HIS DESIGNEE FOR THAT PURPOSE, ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER, ADJUST, DETERMINE AND SETTLE, ANY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED THEREIN WHEN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM DOES NOT EXCEED $1,000.

SINCE, AS IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THERE IS NO OBLIGATION ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT ON A CLAIM COVERED BY THE SAID SECTION OF THE ACT UNTIL A FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE GOVERNMENT'S LIABILITY IS MADE BY THE PERSON AUTHORIZED TO DO SO THEREUNDER, THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME SUCH FINAL ACTION IS TAKEN IS THE APPROPRIATION OBLIGATED FOR AND CHARGEABLE WITH THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF THE ADJUDICATED CLAIM, WHICH, IN THE INSTANCE CITED, WOULD BE TIME ELEMENT FOUR.