B-160508, JUN. 3, 1968

B-160508: Jun 3, 1968

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YOU SAY IN YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER THAT NO SUCH FREE LUNCH TIME WAS EVER ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED. OUR RECORDS SHOW THAT OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS HAVE BEEN DISALLOWED FOR THE SAME REASON BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION. YOU ASK THAT WE RECONSIDER THE MATTER POINTING OUT THAT FREE LUNCH TIME HAS NEVER BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED THESE EMPLOYEES BUT RATHER THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN FREQUENTLY REMINDED THAT NO TIME OFF FOR LUNCH IS AUTHORIZED AND THAT ANYONE EATING IS CONSIDERED ON DUTY. AS WAS POINTED OUT TO EACH CLAIMANT IN THE DISALLOWANCE OF HIS CLAIM. WE WERE FURNISHED INFORMATION SHOWING THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES HAD 15 MINUTES OR MORE FREE TIME FOR LUNCH. OUR INFORMATION IS CONTRARY TO THE VIEW ADVANCED IN YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER REFERRED TO ABOVE.

B-160508, JUN. 3, 1968

TO MRS. RHEA BUTLER:

YOUR TELEGRAM DATED APRIL 1, 1968, AND LETTER OF APRIL 3, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR DECISION B-160508, DATED APRIL 10, 1967, SUSTAINING OUR JANUARY 10, 1967, DISALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM OF C. B. COFFEE, A GUARD CHAUFFEUR, FOR OVERTIME COMPENSATION FOR REPORTING 15 MINUTES EARLY DAILY WHICH EARLY REPORTING WE SET OFF AGAINST AS MUCH OR MORE FREE LUNCH TIME ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED. YOU SAY IN YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER THAT NO SUCH FREE LUNCH TIME WAS EVER ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED. OUR RECORDS SHOW THAT OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS HAVE BEEN DISALLOWED FOR THE SAME REASON BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION.

YOU ASK THAT WE RECONSIDER THE MATTER POINTING OUT THAT FREE LUNCH TIME HAS NEVER BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY GRANTED THESE EMPLOYEES BUT RATHER THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN FREQUENTLY REMINDED THAT NO TIME OFF FOR LUNCH IS AUTHORIZED AND THAT ANYONE EATING IS CONSIDERED ON DUTY.

IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT, AS WAS POINTED OUT TO EACH CLAIMANT IN THE DISALLOWANCE OF HIS CLAIM, WE WERE FURNISHED INFORMATION SHOWING THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES HAD 15 MINUTES OR MORE FREE TIME FOR LUNCH. THUS, OUR INFORMATION IS CONTRARY TO THE VIEW ADVANCED IN YOUR TELEGRAM AND LETTER REFERRED TO ABOVE.

CLAIMS SUBMITTED HERE ARE SETTLED UPON THE BASIS OF THE WRITTEN RECORD. OUR OFFICE DOES NOT MAKE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS IN EACH CASE TO ESTABLISH THE VALIDITY OF THE FACTS PRESENTED AND NEITHER DO WE HOLD FORMAL HEARINGS AFFORDING PARTIES THE OPPORTUNITY OF EXAMINATION AND CROSS -EXAMINATION OF WITNESSES. HENCE, WHERE THERE ARE MATERIAL CONFLICTS BETWEEN THE FACTS PRESENTED ADMINISTRATIVELY AND THOSE ALLEGED BY THE CLAIMANTS SO THAT WE ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO DETERMINE THE TRUE FACTUAL SITUATION WITH REASONABLE CERTAINTY, OUR PRACTICE IS TO DISALLOW THE CLAIMS LEAVING THE CLAIMANTS TO THEIR REMEDY IN THE COURTS. SEE LONGWILL V UNITED STATES, 17 CT. CL. 288, 291; CHARLES V UNITED STATES, 19 CT. CL. 316, 319.

WE INVITE ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THE COURT OF CLAIMS HAS A SIX YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATION. SEE 28 U.S.C. 2501. FROM THE RECORD WE HAVE BEFORE US IN MR. COFFEE'S CASE IT APPEARS THAT HIS CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED IN JANUARY 1962. THUS TO DATE A PORTION THEREOF WOULD BE AFFECTED BY THAT LIMITATION.

ACCORDINGLY, IN LINE WITH THE FOREGOING, WE SUSTAIN OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 10, 1967, DISALLOWING MR. COFFEE'S CLAIM AND THE OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS OF THE GUARDS-CHAUFFEURS OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTER, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

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