[Appeal of Denial of Claim for Withheld Funds]

B-213089: Mar 6, 1984

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A firm appealed the Claims Group's denial of its claim for funds withheld because of damage to two jet engines delivered by the claimant to an Air Force base. The claimant contended that it should not be held liable because the damage occurred after delivery, and the firm was not able to confirm it by a full post-delivery inspection. GAO found that the claimant did not absolve its liability for the following reasons: (1) since the goods were tendered in good condition and received from the carrier in damaged condition, a prima facie case of carrier liability was established; (2) this responsibility was not alleviated by the fact that the consignee's delivery receipt failed to note any damage or that the carrier was not able to inspect the damage fully; and (3) where there was a factual dispute between the claimant and Government administrative officers, GAO accepted the officers' statements absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Furthermore, to the extent that the engines may have been damaged while in the initial carrier's possession, GAO noted that a shipper can file a claim against either the originating or delivering carrier, and the carrier paying the claim has the right to pursue recovery from the responsible carrier. Accordingly, the Claims Group decision was affirmed.