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(b) Admiralty Division of the Office of the Judge Advocate General. The Navy's admiralty-tort claims are processed and adjudicated in the Admiralty DiviSion of the Office of the Judge Advocate General. All correspondence with the Admiralty Division should be addressed to the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Code 31), Navy Department, 200 Stovall Street, Alexandria, VA 22332–2400. (c) Mission and policy. The primary mission of the Admiralty Division is to effect prompt and equitable settlements of admiralty claims, both against and in favor of the United States. The settlement procedure has evolved to eliminate the expenses and delays arising Out of litigation and to obtain results advantageous to the financial interests of the United States. Where settlements cannot be made, litigation ensues in the Federal Courts. The final test of whether a settlement is justified is the probable result of litigation. Settlements are therefore Considered and determined by the probable results of litigation. The policy of the Navy is to effect fair and prompt settlements of admiralty claims wherever legal liability exists. (d) Admiralty-tort claims. As indicated above, the Admiralty Division primarily handles admiralty-tort claims. These are claims for damage caused by vessels in the naval Service or by other property under the jurisdiction of the Navy, or damage caused by a maritime tort Committed by an agent or employee of the Navy, and claims for damage caused by a privately owned vessel to a vessel or property of the Navy (affirmative claims). The Admiralty Division also handles claims for towage and Salvage Services rendered to a vessel in the naval Service. (e) Admiralty-contract claims. Admiralty-contract claims arising out of the Operations of the Military Sealift Command (MSC) are handled by its Office of Counsel. MSC is responsible for the procurement of vessels and Space for the commercial ocean transportation of Department of Defense Cargo, mail, and personnel. It is also responsible for the maintenance, repair, and alteration of Government-owned vessels assigned to it. The Office of Counsel, MSC, deals with the various claims of a contract
nature which arise out of these operations. These include claims for cargo damage, charter hire, redelivery, general average, and claims arising under MSC ship-repair contracts.
(f) Damage caused by Navy contract Stevedores. Office of Counsel, Naval Supply Systems Command, has cognizance of admiralty claims for damage Caused by Navy contract stevedores. Under these stevedore contracts, the Stevedoring companies are responsible for negligent acts of their employees which result in vessel damage. It is important that the extent of any such damage be accurately determined and promptly reported to the contracting Officer having cognizance of the particular Stevedore contract involved.
(g) Resolving conflicts. Admiralty-tort claims, such as collision, personal-injury, and death claims, are dealt with by the Admiralty Division, irrespective Of whether an MSC vessel or other naval vessel is involved. Whether any particular claim is to be handled by JAG or by MSC, therefore, is determined by the nature of the claim. Cases may arise which could be handled by either office. If doubt exists, Such matters should be reported both to JAG and to MSC. An agreement will then be reached between the Admiralty Division and the Office of Counsel, MSC, as to how the incident should be handled.
[39 F.R. 9962, Mar. 15, 1974, as amended at 55 FR 12173, Apr. 2, 1990]
$752.3 Claims against the Navy.
(a) Settlement authority. 10 U.S.C. 7622 (1982) provides settlement authority for “(1) Damage caused by a vessel in the naval Service or by other property under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy; (2) compensation for towage or salvage service, including Contract Salvage, rendered to a vessel in the naval service or to other property of the Navy; or (3) damage caused by a maritime tort committed by any agent or employee of the Department of the Navy or by property under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy.” The limit on the Secretary’s Settlement authority is payment of $1,000,000. A claim which is settled for an amount over $1,000,000 is certified to Congress for payment. Section 7622 provides that the Secretary may delegate his settlement authority in matters where the amount to be paid is not over $100,000. Under the Secretary’s delegation, settlements not exceeding $100,000 may be effected by the Judge Advocate General, Deputy Judge Advocate General, Assistant Judge Advocate General (General Law), and the Deputy Assistant Judge Advocate General (Admiralty). Authority has also been delegated to Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, and to Commander Sixth Fleet, to pay admiralty claims against the Navy not exceeding $10,000, and to Commander Fleet Air, Caribbean, for damage to fishing equipment arising in CulebraVieques waters, not to exceed $3,000. (b) Settlement is final. The legislation specifically authorizes the Secretary to settle, compromise, and pay claims. The settlement, upon acceptance of payment by the claimant, is final and conclusive for all purposes. (c) Settlement procedures. Where the amount paid is over $100,000, after agreement is reached with Counsel or claimants, the procedure is to prepare a settlement recommendation for the approval of the Secretary of the Navy. When settlement has been approved, the voucher required for effecting payment is prepared. The settlement check is then exchanged, in keeping with the commercial practice, for an executed release. In Some Situations, where the exchange of documents is impracticable, a claimant is requested to forward the executed release by mail, on the understanding that the release does not become effective until the check is received in payment. Claims Settled under 10 U.S.C. 7622 are paid out of annual Department of Defense appropriations. (d) Limitation period. The Secretary’s Settlement authorization is Subject to a two-year limitation. This limitation is not extended by the filing of claim nor by negotiations or correspondence. A settlement agreement must be reached before the end of the two-year period. If Settlement is not accomplished, then the claimant must file Suit under the appropriate statute to avoid the limitation bar. The agreement reached in negotiations must re
ceive the approval of the Secretary of the Navy or his designee, depending on the amount involved, prior to the expiration of the two-year period. (e) Matters in litigation. When suit is filed, the matter comes within the cognizance of the Department of Justice, and the Secretary of the Navy is no longer able to entertain a claim or to make administrative settlement.
[39 F.R. 9962, Mar. 15, 1974, as amended at 55 FR 12173, Apr. 2, 1990]
$752.4 Affirmative claims.
(a) Settlement authority. The Navy has the same authority to settle affirmative admiralty claims as it does claims against the Navy. The statute conferring this authorization is codified in 10 U.S.C. 7623 (1982), and is the reciprocal of 10 U.S.C. 7622 (1982) referred to in $752.3.
(b) Scope. 10 U.S.C. 7623 is a tort claims-settlement statute. It is not limited to affirmative claims arising Out of collision, but embraces all instances of damage caused by a vessel or floating object to property of the United States under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy. Perhaps the most frequent instance is where a privately owned vessel damages a Navy pier Or Shore Structure. To eliminate any issue of whether the damaging inStrumentality was a vessel, the words “or floating object” were included.
(c) Statute of limitation. The United States is subject to a three-year Statute of limitation when it asserts an affirmative claim for money damages grounded in tort. This limitation is Subject to the usual exclusions, such as inability to prosecute due to war, unavailability of the “res” or defendant, and Certain exemptions from legal process (28 U.S.C. 2415, 2416 (1982)).
(d) Litigation. 10 U.S.C. 7623 does not apply to any claim where suit is filed. If the Admiralty Division is unable to effect settlement, the matter is referred to the Department of Justice for the filing of a complaint against the of fending party. Thereafter, as in the Case of adverse litigated claims, the Navy has no further authority to effect settlement.
[39 F.R. 9962, Mar. 15, 1974, as amended at 55 FR 12174, Apr. 2, 1990]
(a) Scope. This section relates to Salvage claims against or by the Navy for compensation for towage and Salvage services, including contract Salvage, rendered to a vessel in the naval Service or to other property under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy, or for salvage services rendered by the Department of the Navy. Suits for salvage may be maintained under the Public Vessels Act, and Salvage claims are within the Secretary of the Navy’s administrative-settlement authority under 10 U.S.C. 7622. Salvage claims against the Navy are reported to and processed by the Judge Advocate General (Admiralty Division). Both claims and suits for Salvage against the United States are Subject to the two-year limitation of the Public Vessels Act and the Navy’s Settlement authority.
(b) Affirmative claims. Authorization for the settlement of affirmative Salvage claims is contained in 10 U.S.C. 7365 (1982). ASSertion of Such claims is handled in the first instance by the ASsistant Supervisor of Salvage (Admiralty), USN, Naval Sea Systems Command (SEA OOCL), Washington, DC 20362–5101. Salvage claims are referred to the Admiralty Division only if the ASSistant Supervisor of Salvage (Admiralty) is unsuccessful in making Collection. Any money received in Settlement of affirmative Salvage Claims is credited to appropriations for maintaining salvage facilities by the Navy, pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 7367 (1982).
[39 F.R. 9962, Mar. 15, 1974, as amended at 41 F.R. 26866, June 30, 1976; 55 FR 12174, Apr. 2, 1990]
PART 755–CLAIMS FOR INJURIES TO PROPERTY UNDER ARTICLE 139 OF THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE
Claims not cognizable.
Limitation. On claims.
755.5 Complaint by the injured party and inVestigation.
755.6 Action where offenders are members of One Command.
755.7 Action where offenders are members of different commands.
755.8 Reconsideration and appeal.
755.9 Effect of court-martial proceedings.
AUTHORITY: 5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. 939, 5013, and5148; E.O. 11476, as reported in 3 CFR, 1969 Comp., p. 132; 32 CFR 700.206 and 700.1202.
SOURCE: 56 FR 42232, Aug. 27, 1991, unless Otherwise noted.
NOTE 1: This part 755 is chapter IV of the Manual of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy.
NOTE 2: The Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 U.S.C. 801–940) is referred to in this part 755 as the “UCMJ’’. The Manual for CourtS-Martial, UIsited States, 1984 (E.O. 12473 of August 1, 1984) is referred to in this part 755 as “MCM 1984”.
$755.1 Statutory authority.
Article 139, UCMJ, redress of injuries to property, is the basis for this chapter.
§ 755.2 Scope.
This chapter provides for assessments against the pay of members of the naval Service in Satisfaction of claims for property damage caused under certain circumstances. Claims for damage, loss, or destruction of privately owned property caused by a perSon or persons in the naval service, are payable under Article 139, UCMJ, only if such damage, loss, or destruction is Caused by riotous conduct, willful conduct, or acts showing such reckless or wanton disregard of the property rights of others that willful damage or destruction is implied. Acts of the type punishable under Article 109, UCMJ, are cognizable under Article 139, UCMJ. Charges against pay under these regulations shall be made only against the pay of persons shown to have been principal Offenders Or accesSOries.
$755.3 Claims not cognizable.
The following claims are not cognizable under this chapter.
(a) Claims resulting from simple negligence.
(b) Claims of Subrogees.
(c) Claims for personal injury or death.
(d) Claims arising from acts or omissions within the Scope of employment of the Offender.
(e) Claims for reimbursement for damage, loss, or destruction of Government, property.
$755.4 Limitation on claims.
(a) Time limitations. A claim must be submitted within 90 days of the incident giving rise to it.
(b) Acts of property owner. When the acts or Onissions of the property owner, his lessee, or agent were a proximate contributing factor to the loss or damage of the property, assessments will not be made against members of the naval service in excess of the amount for which they are found to be directly responsible, i.e., Comparative responsibility for the loss will be the standard for determining financial reSponsibility.
(c) Only direct damages considered. Assessment will be made only for direct physical damages to the property. Indirect, remote, or inconsequential damage will not be considered.
$755.5 Complaint by the injured party and investigation.
(a) A claim shall contain a statement Setting forth the amount of the claim, the facts and circumstances surrounding the claim and any other information that will assist in the investigation and resolution of the matter. When there is more than one complaint resulting from a single incident, each claimant must file a claim separately and individually. The claim shall be personally signed by the claimant or his duly authorized representative or agent.
(b) Where the claim alleges misconduct by members of the command, a commanding officer to whom the claim is Submitted shall convene an investigation under this Manual to inquire into the matter. Where a complaint is received by a commanding officer to whose command the alleged offenders do not report, he shall forward the claim and other pertinent information about the matter to the member’s commanding Officer who will convene an investigation into the incident. Where the command of the alleged offenders Cannot be determined, the claim and
Supporting materials shall be forwarded to the Chief of Naval Personnel Or the Commandant of the Marine Corps, as appropriate, for action. (c) The investigation shall inquire into the Circumstances surrounding the claim, gather all relevant information about the matter (answering the who, what, where, when, why, and how questions) and make findings and opinions, aS appropriate, about the validity of the claim under Article 139, UCMJ, and these regulations. The investigation shall determine the amount of damage suffered by the property owner. (d) The investigation shall make recOmmendations about the amount to be aSSessed against the pay of the responSible parties. If more than one person is found responsible, recommendations shall be made about the assessments against all individuals.
§ 755.6 Action where offenders are members of one command.
(a) Action by commanding officer. The Commanding officer shall ensure the alleged offenders are shown the investigative report and are advised they have 20 days within which to submit a Statement Or additional information on the incident. If the member declines to Submit information, he shall so state in writing within the 20 day period. The commanding officer shall review the investigation and determine whether the claim is properly within the provisions of Article 139, UCMJ, and these regulations, and whether the facts indiCate responsibility for the damage on members of the command. If the commanding officer finds the claim payable under these regulations, he shall fix the amount to be assessed against the Offenders.
(b) Review. If the commanding officer has authority to convene a general court-martial, no further review of the investigation is required as to the redress of injuries to property. If the Commanding officer does not have general Court-martial convening authority, the investigation and the Commanding officer's action thereon shall be forwarded to the officer exercising general Court-martial jurisdiction (OEGCM) over the command for review and action on the claim. That officer’s action on the claim shall be communicated to the commanding officer who will take action consistent with the determination.
(c) Charge against pay. Where the amount does not exceed $5,000.00, the amount ordered by the commanding officer shall, as provided in the Navy Comptroller Manual, be charged against the pay of the Offenders and the amounts so collected will be paid to the claimant. Where the amount, exceeds $5,000.00, the claim, the investigation, and the commanding officer’s recommendation shall be forwarded for review prior to checkage to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (Code JAR) or the Judge Advocate General, as appropriate. The amount charged in any single month against the pay of of fenders shall not exceed one-half of basic pay, as defined in paragraph 126h(2), Manual for Courts-Martial. The action of the commanding Officer in Ordering the assessment shall be conclusive on any disbursing officer for payment to the claimant of the damages assessed, approved, charged, and Collected.
$755.7 Action where offenders are members of different commands.
(a) Action by common Superior. The investigative report shall be forwarded to the common Superior exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the commands to which the alleged offenders are assigned. That officer shall ensure the alleged offenders are shown the investigative report and permitted to comment on it, should they desire, before action is taken on the claim. That officer shall review the investigation and determine whether the claim is properly within the provisions of Article 139, UCMJ, and these regulations, and whether the facts indicate responsibility for the damage on members of his command. If the claim is found payable under these regulations, he shall fix the amount to be assessed against the offenders and direct the appropriate commanding officers to take a Ction accordingly.
(b) Forwarding to SECNAV (JAG). Where it is not practical or possible to carry out the procedure in $755.7(a) of this section, the investigation or investigations shall be forwarded to the Sec
retary of the Navy (Judge Advocate General) who will take action in the matter. Commanding officers, in such a Situation, are not to make charges against the pay of their members until directed by the Secretary of the Navy (Judge Advocate General).
§ 755.8 Reconsideration and appeal.
(a) Reconsideration. The OEGCM may, upon a receipt of a request for reconSideration by either the claimant or a member who has been assessed pecuniary liability, reopen the investigation or take any other action he believes is necessary in the interests of justice. If the OEGCM contemplates acting favorably on the request, he will provide all individuals interested in the claim with notice and an opportunity to respond. The basis for any change will be noted in the OEGCM’s decision.
(b) Appeal. In claims involving $5,000.00 or less, a claimant or member who has been assessed pecuniary liability may appeal the decision to the OEGCM. An appeal must be submitted within 5 days of the receipt of the OEGCM’s decision. Appeals will be forwarded, via the OEGCM, to the Judge Advocate General for review and final action. In the event of an appeal, the imposition of the OEGCM’s decision will be held in abeyance pending the final action by JAG. If it appears that good cause exists that would make it impracticable for an appeal to be submitted within 5 days, the OEGCM may, in his discretion, grant an extension of time, as appropriate. His decision on extensions is final and nonappealable.
$755.9 Effect of court-martial proceed
Administrative action under these regulations is separate and distinct from and is not affected by any disciplinary action against the Offender. The two proceedings are independent. Acquittal or conviction of the alleged offender by court-martial is evidence for the administrative action, but is not determinative on the issue of responsibility for damages under these regulations.