« PreviousContinue »
It is clear that the later statute contemplates that compensation shall be paid for such injuries only as are of an accidental nature, or at least that payment shall be confined to injuries which are referable to some particular event capable of being fixed in point of time.
The commission so far has withheld from this office the evidence upon which it allowed and paid compensation or expense of medical service on a diagnosis of disease only. Therefore, I have not before me in the several cases at issue any evidence of compliance or attempted compliance with the requirements of sections 15, 16, and 17 of the act. It would seem that so-called occupational diseases not due to accident or to happening of a particular event can not be brought within the terms of the statutė, but final decision on each of the several cases involved in this application for review will be left open for further consideration should the commission desire to submit further evidence in any case.
Upon the facts and arguments before me no differences are found and the settlement is sustained.
LAUNDRY-OFFICERS OF BUREAU OF NAVIGATION STATIONED
The official station of an officer of the Bureau of Navigation assigned to com.
mand a vessel of that bureau is on the vessel itself, and reimbursement for laundry expenses incurred while on duty on such vessel is therefore barred by the act of April 6, 1914, 38 Stat., 318, and the regulations of the Com
merce Department. Comptroller General McCarl to Charles E. Molster, disbursing clerk, Depart.
ment of Commerce, September 26, 1922:
I have your letter of August 25, 1922, transmitting a travel expense voucher stated in favor of Harry Planert, navigation officer commanding the motor vessel Psyche, one of a fleet of vessels maintained by the Department of Commerce for the enforcement of the navigation laws, with request for decision as to propriety of paying items therein for expenses incurred for personal laundry, attention being called to department orders, respectively, granting authority to include the item of subsistence as a part of the compensation of officers and crews of the vessels and waiving limitations in certain paragraphs of the department regulations with respect to charges for laundry.
The items in question are vouchered as follows: 1922, May 1. Continuous travel by boat. ht Salisbury, Md. 8. Laundry-
$1. 25 15. Laundry-
1. 25 22. Laundry.
1. 16 29. Laundry-
It appears that January 17, 1920," the authority to include the item of subsistence as a part of the compensation of the officers and crews of the inspection boats of the Bureau of Navigation" was extended by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce to cover all the employees of the inspection boats of such service.
Under date of August 24, 1922, the Commissioner of the Bureau of Navigation stated in part with respect to the voucher in question :
In the organization of the service of the inspection of boats it was realized that the duties of the service would necessitate maintenance in continuous travel service of all its employees. Therefore provisions were made for a compensation that would include wages and subsistence at all times whether aboard ship or ashore; travel status to include all items allowable to other employees under the regulations of the Department of Commerce.
In the interests of economy and efficiency meals are bad aboard ship whenever possible.
The nature of the duties involved and the limited space precludes the installation of laundry equipment on the vessels. Laundry service, ship and personnel, is had at ports from time to time, as opportunity offers.
The submission states that mess on the boats averages $1 per day per man.
The contention of the Commissioner of Navigation appears to be that even employees of the service whose duties are confined to the navigation and management of their station vessels are, while on board in the discharge of those duties, continuously in a travel status entitling them to reimbursement for expenses incurred for personal laundry the same as the travel regulations of the department allow to such of its employees who are in a travel status in the sense that they are discharging official duties away from their designated official station.
The act of April 6, 1914, 38 Stat., 318, provides that on and after July 1, 1914, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, no officer or employee of the United States shall be allowed or paid any sum in excess of expenses actually incurred for subsistence while traveling on duty away from his designated post of duty.
In 21 Comp. Dec., 507, the Comptroller of the Treasury said:
It is to be noticed that while the act of April 6, 1914, does not specifically state that an employee shall not be allowed or paid any sum in excess of expenses actually incurred for subsistence while at his designated post of duty, the law of August 1, 1914, [38 Stat., 680] which is in the nature of ad amendment to the former law, authorizes the granting of a per diem in lieu of subsistence only to persons away from their designated posts of duty. Taking the two laws together, I think it was clearly intended by Congress that an employee should not be reimbursed for actual expenses of subsistence incurred at his post of duty unless it be in cases where such reimbursement is specifically authorized by law. There may be cases in which as a part of his contract of employment subsistence in kind may be furnished to an employee by the United States, but that is not the present case.
No copy of the appointment of the payee of the voucher here in question or of his contract of employment accompanies your submission. It is understood that as a part of his compensation subsistence in kind is furnished on board his station vessel.
The travel regulations of the Department of Commerce, 1914 edi. tion, provide in part with respect to laundering:
55. Laundry.-Expenses for laundering, where the travel continues for week or more, not to exceed $1.25 a week, fractional portions in excess of week to be prorated at the rate of 20 cents a day.
56. Laundry must include only expenses incurred for that item during the period. for which the account is rendered, and must not be brought forward from a previous account.
Under date of September 27, 1921, the Secretary of Commerce amended the regulations as follows:
Effective October 1, 1921, the limitations imposed by paragrapbs 55, 56, and 59 of the Department of Commerce Travel Regulations, editions of 1913 and 1914, relating to laundry and pressing clothes, are removed.
It is understood that the following paragraph remains unchanged except so far as inconsistent with paragraphs 55 and 56 as amended:
57. Under no circumstances will an employee be reimbursed for expenses incurred for laundry at his official headquarters or station, except at the termination of a trip, and then only for clothing soiled on the trip and on the basis set forth above.
The voucher shows the payee's “Official title and station: Navigation officer, commanding U. S. M. V. Psyche V."
In decision of May 27, 1922, 9 MS. Comp. Gen., 2186, involving the question of reimbursement for expenses incurred in 1919 for personal laundry of an inspection officer in the service, whose duties as inspector required him at times to forego meals that were provided on the vessel, it was stated, with respect to reimbursement for expenses personally incurred for subsistence, that
Generally, as to this matter, the official station may be said to be the vessel and subsistence expenses incurred while away therefrom and the immediate environs thereof properly are reimbursable, except such subsistence expenses as are incurred at the home port of the vessel.
The reimbursement thereby authorized was with relation to the employee being absent from the vessel in a travel status.
In the instant case it is not shown that at any time during the period covered by the laundry items in question was the payee of the voucher absent from the vessel in a travel status so as to entitle him to reimbursement for said laundry items. Subsistence in kind have been provided aboard the station vessel as a part of the officer's compensation, but the officer may not be reimbursed for expenses personally incurred for laundry while performing official duties at his official headquarters or station, the vessel, in view of the provision of the act of April 16, 1914, supra, and of the express prohibition of paragraph 57 of the travel regulations of the department.
Accordingly, payment of the laundry items set out in the voucher herewith returned is not authorized.
may PAYMENT FOR REAL ESTATE REQUISITIONED BY THE
GOVERNMENT. While the requisitioning of real estate by the Government pursuant to the act
of May 16, 1918, 40 Stat., 560, and an Executive order issued thereunder, vests the legal title thereto in the United States, payment may not be made therefor until all equities in the proceeds thereof have been satisfied and the claimant or claimants of the purchase price are shown to have a clear
and undisputed right to the entire amount. Decision by Comptroller General McCarl, September 27, 1922:
The Washington Loan & Trust Co., executor of the estate of Thomas W. Smith, applied July 20, 1922, for review of settlement No. 8-30632, dated May 27, 1922, disallowing its claim for $1,218, the amount of compensation fixed by the Secretary of Labor for Lot 2, Square 1098, southeast, Washington, D. C., requisitioned by the United States September 24, 1918, pursuant to the act of May 16, 1918, and Executive order of June 18, 1918.
Disallowance of the claim was in accordance with the instructions contained in division memorandum No. 48, dated May 23, 1922, as follows:
Pursuant to the authorization contained in the act of May 16, 1918, 40 Stat., $50, and Executive order dated June 18, 1918, the Secretary of Labor, September 24, 1918, requisitioned every estate, right, title, and interest, whether in law or in equity, of the owner to a certain plot, piece, or parcel of land situate in the District of Columbia, known as original lot No. Two, in Square 1098, of the land records of the District of Columbia.
The title to the lot in question appears of record in the Thrift Building Company, the estate of Thomas W. Smith, deceased, of which the Washington Loan and Trust Company, executor under will admitted to probate March 21, 1919, is the cestui que trust of a deed of trust given July 20, 1899, recorded July 21, 1899, to Charles Early and Sydney T. Thomas as trustees, to secure to Thomas W. Smith the sum of $1,800, evidenced by two notes, one for $200 und one for $1,600, both bearing interest. It is stated that the $200 note, as appears from the books of Thomas W. Smith, was paid July 2, 1902, and that the $1,000 note 18 subject to a credit of $200. Under the deed of trust there is thus due to the estate of Thomas W. Smith the sum of $1,400 with interest from the date thereof.
The Director of the Buregu of Industrial Housing and Transportation, De partment of Labor, proposes to pay to the Washington Loan & Trust Company, is executors of the estate of Thomas W. Smith, the sum of $1,218 as just compensation for the lot. The Washington Loan & Trust Company agreed to accept the sum of $1,218 as full compensation for the debt and interest due to the estate of Thomas W. Smith. The payment of the $200 note has not been made of record in the land tities of the District of Columbia, and there would therefore be outstanding against the title of lot two in Square 1098 the pote of $200 and the title of the Thrift Building Company.
The act of May 18, 1918, 40 stat., 551, provides that the President shall pake just compensation, to be determined by him, for any right, title, or interest in land requisitioned pursuant thereto, and if the owner of such right, atle, or interest shall refuse to accept the sum determined to be just compensation, he shall be paid 76 per cent of the amount so determined and shall be entitled to sue the United States for the remainder claimed as just compenmation.
The valuation of $1,218 equals only the amount of the trust deed and thus fesults in no money compensation to the Thrift Building Company.
The United States requisitioned every right, title, and interest in this particular lot, and the payment to the executors of the estate of the cestui que trust of the full amount determined to be full and just compensation therefor without a surrender of the interest of the holder of the legal title and the cancellation of all claims against the lot, either vested or contingent, is unauthorized
No action appears to have been taken to satisfy the interests of the holder of the legal title or to release other claims against the property. Until these interests are lawfully satisfied the amount awarded as just compensation can not be paid to claimant or distributed among those entitled to that amount, or to such other amount as may be determined pursuant to law should the dissatisfied parties in interest resort to the remedy prescribed in case the amount is deemed by them to be inadequate.
While it is true that the Government became absolute owner of the land when it took possession thereof in accordance with the above-mentioned authority and by so doing completely divested all individuals of their interests in the land, yet the acquisition of the title to the land did not destroy the rights of the individuals to just compensation and the lawful distribution thereof according to their several interests. Ownership of the title to the land does not carry with it such an interest in the amount determined as compensation therefor as to permit arbitrary distribution among such interested parties as the Government may elect.
The encumbrances run with the land and the ownership thereof may be severed in the same manner and to the same extent as other rights, but those rights must also be compensated for and ves: in the owner his proportionate interest in the proceeds. Such interests must be satisfied in distributing the compensation regardless of title to the land. A deed conveying title to the land may not be necessary in such a case.
But a release of title in the proceeds is necessary to escape responsibility for the wrongful use thereof.
The land is not here involved. The question is, Who are entitled to the compensation? The answer is that the compensation belongs to those who had an interest in the land, the owners of the legal and equitable titles. Until those titles, now vested in the moneys awarded or to be awarded, are quieted, the amount otherwise due may not be paid.
Upon review the settlement disallowing the claim is sustained without prejudice to the right to reconsideration thereof upon the presentation of record evidence securing to the United States a good and sufficient release of all claims and demands of every nature whatsoever from all parties having any right, title, or interest in the premises.