Skip to Highlights
Highlights

III: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 13. YOU SEEM TO BE OF THE OPINION THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SHARE THE BURDEN OF THE EXTRA EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE REASON THAT THE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WERE NOT WITHOUT FAULT IN THE MATTER. THE DAMAGE OR LOSS SHOULD BE SHARED AND THAT YOU SHOULD RECEIVE AT LEAST PARTIAL REMUNERATION FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST YOU HAVE PAID. ANY IMPRESSION YOU MAY HAVE DERIVED FROM OUR DECISION THAT LIABILITY MIGHT HAVE BEEN FOUND TO REST WITH THE GOVERNMENT HAD THE EXTRA EXPENSES BEEN INCURRED AS THE RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT OF AN AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT IS UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT NO OBLIGATION ARISES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR DAMAGES OCCASIONED EITHER BY MISTAKE OR NEGLIGENCE OF AN OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT.

View Decision

B-144383, JAN. 26, 1961

TO WALLACE E. TOBIN, III:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED DECEMBER 13, 1960, RELATIVE TO OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 7, 1960, B-144383, WHICH SUSTAINED THE SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED OCTOBER 12, 1960, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXTRA CHARGES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS INCIDENT TO YOUR SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY.

WHILE AGREEING IN MOST PART WITH OUR ACTION ON YOUR CLAIM, YOU SEEM TO BE OF THE OPINION THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SHARE THE BURDEN OF THE EXTRA EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE REASON THAT THE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WERE NOT WITHOUT FAULT IN THE MATTER, AND, THEREFORE, THE DAMAGE OR LOSS SHOULD BE SHARED AND THAT YOU SHOULD RECEIVE AT LEAST PARTIAL REMUNERATION FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST YOU HAVE PAID.

ANY IMPRESSION YOU MAY HAVE DERIVED FROM OUR DECISION THAT LIABILITY MIGHT HAVE BEEN FOUND TO REST WITH THE GOVERNMENT HAD THE EXTRA EXPENSES BEEN INCURRED AS THE RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE OR FAULT OF AN AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT IS UNFORTUNATE BECAUSE IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT NO OBLIGATION ARISES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR DAMAGES OCCASIONED EITHER BY MISTAKE OR NEGLIGENCE OF AN OFFICER OR AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, UNLESS PROVIDED FOR BY SPECIFIC LEGISLATION OR UNDER AN EXPRESS AGREEMENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW. 1 COMP. GEN. 178, 5 ID. 461; 7 ID. 14; 10 ID. 199; GIBBONS V. UNITED STATES, 8 WALL. 269; HART V. UNITED STATES, 95 U.S. 316, HIGBY V. UNITED STATES, 188 U.S. 400, AND THE WESTERN MAID 257 U.S. 419. THEREFORE, EVEN IF THE EXTRA CHARGES MAY HAVE BEEN INCURRED AS THE RESULT OF NEGLIGENCE OR MISTAKE IMPUTABLE TO AN AGENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF ANY PART OF THE CHARGES FROM PUBLIC FUNDS.

THE THEORY UNDER WHICH THE GOVERNMENT MAY ASSUME ANY EXCESS OR EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SHIPMENT OF A MEMBER'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS NOT BASED UPON ANY QUESTION OF DAMAGES BUT ARISES ONLY IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE EXPENSES WERE INCURRED WHILE THE GOODS WERE OUT OF THE CONTROL OF THE OWNER IN THE HANDS OF THE GOVERNMENT OR A CARRIER ACTING AS AGENT FOR THE GOVERNMENT. IN YOUR CASE THE EXTRA CHARGES WERE INCURRED WHILE THE GOODS WERE IN YOUR POSSESSION AND CONTROL, AND YOU ALONE HAD THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING THEM AVAILABLE FOR SHIPMENT AND ARRANGING FOR A MUTUALLY AGREEABLE TIME FOR THEIR PICKUP.

GAO Contacts