Request for Review of Settlement Involving Carrier Liability

B-197120: Jan 23, 1980

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Thurston Motor Lines, Inc. requested review of a Claims Division settlement in which Thurston was found liable to the Government for the loss of Government freight. Thurston contended that the Claims Division misunderstood a material fact in the case. The material fact involved a claim by Thurston that that an airplane crash partially destroyed a building where records were kept. The settlement, while noting that the crash did occur, stated that Thurston's loss of records had no bearing on whether timely notice of the loss was made. In its petition for review, Thurston explained that the building and the records both belonged to the Government, and that the occurrence was cited to show that Thurston should be relieved from liability for the loss on the ground that the destroyed records might have been helpful in locating the lost equipment. The clarification of the facts concerning the plane crash was regarded as inconsequential since the mere assertion that useful information might have been contained in the unavailable records is not by itself sufficient to warrant Thurston's release from liability. Notwithstanding Thurston's contention that the crash precluded a thorough investigation, the original presumption of carrier negligence remained as to the loss itself. Accordingly, the Claims Division settlement was sustained.

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