Administrative Claim for Backpay

B-199060: Jul 22, 1980

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The question of whether a claimant who successfully sues the Government in the United States District Court for backpay may then file an administrative claim for backpay and receive amounts of backpay in excess of the jurisdictional limitation of the court was submitted to GAO for advance decision. An Air Force officer brought suit in the District Court claiming that his discharge from the Air Force was illegal and sought reinstatement to active duty and damages. By bringing suit in this court he waived recovery of awards in excess of $10,000, the amount of recovery to which this court is limited. After the District Court dismissed the claimant's case, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision ruling that his discharge was illegal and that he was entitled to backpay in accordance with law not to exceed $9,999.99. The court also remanded the case to the trial court to determine if the agency's cancellation of the claimant's scheduled promotion to captain was supportable. On the basis of that court's action, the Agency corrected the member's records to reflect constructive active duty as a captain from April 19, 1972 until he was released from active duty. For this period the officer was entitled to active duty pay and allowances of $123,833.58 less civilian earnings, for which he had submitted a voucher. GAO ruled that the court litigation constituted a full and final resolution of the issues including the Government's liability to the claimants. Therefore, the doctrine of res judicata precluded GAO from considering the case as it involved the same parties and issues as were before the court, and GAO could not consider the claim for additional amounts believed due arising out of the same facts and for the same period covered by the court's judgment. For the period after the judgement to his discharge on May 28, 1978 the claimant's backpay should be computed in accordance with law, and he was entitled to receive the amount due him, if any.