B-159886, SEP. 8, 1966

B-159886: Sep 8, 1966

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WILL YOUR OFFICE CONSIDER ITSELF BOUND AS TO THE OTHERS BY THAT DECISION? "TO THE EXTENT WE CAN PROVE THE ENTITLEMENT OF THE OTHER CLAIMANTS TO BACK PAY TO THE SAME EXTENT AS WE HAVE PROVED IT IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS IN THE ONE CASE (ASSUMING WE PREVAIL THERE. AS I EXPECT WE WILL). WILL YOU GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM FOR TEN YEARS PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE CLAIM WITH YOUR OFFICE. IT IS NOT OUR PRACTICE TO COMMIT OURSELVES IN ADVANCE TO FOLLOW A COURT DECISION IN A PARTICULAR CLASS OF CASES. WE ARE AUTHORIZED BY THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9. IS RECEIVED HERE. WE HAVE FOUND THAT MANY PROBLEMS ARISE. EVEN IF WE FINALLY CONCLUDE THAT FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF THESE CLAIMS IS WARRANTED.

B-159886, SEP. 8, 1966

TO MR. ROBERT VOGEL:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 2, 1966, RELATIVE TO THE CLAIMS OF CERTAIN GAME MANAGEMENT AGENTS, FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, FOR ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR OVERTIME, HOLIDAY AND NIGHT WORK.

YOU ASK TWO QUESTIONS IN REGARD TO THESE CLAIMS, AS FOLLOWS:

"IF WE PURSUE ONE OR MORE OF THE ABOVE CLAIMS IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS TO A JUDGMENT ON THE MERITS, WILL YOUR OFFICE CONSIDER ITSELF BOUND AS TO THE OTHERS BY THAT DECISION?

"TO THE EXTENT WE CAN PROVE THE ENTITLEMENT OF THE OTHER CLAIMANTS TO BACK PAY TO THE SAME EXTENT AS WE HAVE PROVED IT IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS IN THE ONE CASE (ASSUMING WE PREVAIL THERE, AS I EXPECT WE WILL), WILL YOU GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM FOR TEN YEARS PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE CLAIM WITH YOUR OFFICE, AS TO ALL OF THE OTHER CLIENTS OF THIS OFFICE?

CONCERNING THE FIRST QUESTION, WE DO NOT REGARD THE DECISIONS OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS AS NECESSARILY BINDING UPON US IN THE STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTS AND CLAIMS; NEVERTHELESS, WE GIVE FULL CONSIDERATION TO SUCH DECISIONS--- IN THE LIGHT OF PERTINENT LAW, PRIOR COURT DECISIONS AND DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE, AS WELL AS AVAILABLE SUPPORTING EVIDENCE--- IN CONNECTION WITH OUR ACTION IN SIMILAR CASES. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT OUR PRACTICE TO COMMIT OURSELVES IN ADVANCE TO FOLLOW A COURT DECISION IN A PARTICULAR CLASS OF CASES. CONSEQUENTLY, WE CANNOT GIVE YOU ANY ASSURANCE AT THIS TIME AS TO OUR FINAL COURSE OF ACTION.

CONCERNING YOUR SECOND QUESTION, WE ARE AUTHORIZED BY THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 31 U.S.C. 71A, TO CONSIDER CLAIMS COVERING A PERIOD OF AS MUCH AS 10 YEARS PRECEDING THE DATE THE PARTICULAR CLAIM, PROPERLY SUBSCRIBED, IS RECEIVED HERE. HOWEVER, WE HAVE FOUND THAT MANY PROBLEMS ARISE--- SUCH AS NONAVAILABILITY OF RELIABLE RECORDS--- WHEN, AS HERE, CLAIMS EXTEND OVER A CONSIDERABLE PERIOD OF TIME. THEREFORE, EVEN IF WE FINALLY CONCLUDE THAT FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF THESE CLAIMS IS WARRANTED, WE CANNOT GIVE ANY ASSURANCE AT THIS TIME THAT ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE FULL AMOUNT OF TIME CLAIMED IS COMPENSABLE UNDER THE LAWS AUTHORIZING THE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION CLAIMED.

SINCE THE FILING OF A CLAIM IN OUR OFFICE AND OUR TAKING ACTION THEREON IS NOT A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE FILING OF A PETITION IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS, WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW, AS ASSERTED BY YOU, OUR SUSPENDING ACTION ON THESE CLAIMS, BECAUSE OF THE PENDENCY OF LITIGATION INVOLVING THE SAME QUESTIONS OF LAW, HAS PREJUDICED YOUR CLIENTS IN THE MATTER OF THE RUNNING OF THE SIX-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS, 28 U.S.C. 2501, APPLICABLE TO SUITS IN THAT COURT.