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ant, providing there is also submitted a Power of Attorney or other documentary evidence substantiating the relationship between claimant and his alleged agent or representative.19 Such evidence must be submitted even though the purported agent is claimant's spouse or another member of his family. In a case where claimant is deceased, a claim may be submitted by claimant's survivors.20 Payment of these claims, however, will be made in strict accordance with the order of precedence set out in section 2115 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations.
An initial requirement that must be met before any payment can be made on a claim submitted for consideration under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations is that such claim must have arisen incident to the military service of claimant.21 In other words, the Military Personnel Claims Act, and the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations implementing it, are not intended to provide a means of compensation for any and all losses which could conceivably be suffered by a claimant as a result of his various activities. Rather, these provisions are intended to protect claimant against only those losses which are directly related to his military service. Based upon this theory, it has been held in an opinion by the Judge Advocate General that a claim will not be considered “incident to service” where the alleged loss occurs during a period of claimant's unauthorized absence.22
Section 2103 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations lists a number of circumstances which may give rise to a compensable claim thereunder. The first of a number of broad categories whose factual situations may give rise to a compensable claim is that of "property losses in quarters or other authorized places”. Under this category a significant difference in treatment is required as between those cases arising outside the limits of the United States and those cases arising within such limits. In the former case, a loss due to fire, flood, hurricane, theft, or other serious occurrence may be compensable even though a claimant's quarters were not assigned to him or otherwise provided in kind by the government. The only exception to this rule is that a claim of a civilian employee of the Navy who is also a local inhabitant of the foreign territory will not be considered under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations unless such employee is living in quarters assigned or 19. JAG Manual, sec. 2115. 20. lbid. 21. Supra, note 12. 22. JAG Itr 144.1:kmo ser 2980 of 15 May 1964.
otherwise provided in kind by the United States Government.23 As for claims arising within the United States, consideration will be given only to losses of the nature described above that arose in quarters which were assigned to claimant or which were otherwise provided in kind by the United States Government. From the above discussion, it is obvious that the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations exclude from consideration any claim which arises at a claimant's unassigned quarters in the United States. As to these losses, it is considered that a prospective claimant will secure for himself such private insurance as might be appropriate to protect against damage or loss to his personal property. The theory is that, under these circumstances, claimant should be in no different position than the non-military citizen who must, of course, secure his own protection against losses of this sort. None of the rationales of compensation, discussed above and relating to the peculiar risks of military service, are thought to be present in the latter category of cases.
In attempting to determine whether a loss has in fact occurred "in quarters”, consideration must necessarily be given to the question of what buildings or areas on claimant's premises will be treated as part of his "quarters" for purposes of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations. In one case the Judge Advocate General expressed the opinion that a garage in which claimant had stored certain items of personal property was to be considered a part of claimant's quarters.24 The garage in question was located directly below the main living area of claimant's house and, as such, was considered to be an integral part of claimant's quarters. It was held in this case that the question of what constitutes “quarters” should be considered completely apart from the separate question of whether claimant's conduct in locating a particular item of personal property in a particular part of his quarters constitutes such negligence as must preclude his recovery under the provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations.25 Thus, it is important to note that the mere fact that personal property is deemed to have been properly located in claimant's "quarters” at the time of its damage or loss does not automatically guarantee that claimant will be compensated therefor. Claimant's case must meet, in addition to the "quarters" requirement, the test of section 21040 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations relating to claimant's own negligence in causing his damage or loss. 23. JAG Manual, sec. 2103a (2). 24. JAG Itr 144.1:kmo ser 2296 of 28 Sep 1964.
In the case cited above, involving theft from claimant's garage, it was held that an examination of the question of negligence under these circumstances should include answers to the following questions: whether the loss, if by theft, occurred in a “theft-prone” area and whether claimant had notice of prior thefts; whether security measures were taken by claimant to protect his property; what type of property was involved, including its value and attractiveness to a would-be thief, and what alternative courses of action might have been available to claimant in attempting to prevent his loss.26 Thus, it may be seen that the question of whether claimant's loss occurred in quarters is only the beginning of the analysis which must be made of this sort of claim before such claim is determined to be compensable under the provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations.
In addition to losses at quarters, section 2103 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations makes provision for payment of losses occurring in certain other authorized places. A few of these places are specifically set out in said section although the listing is not all-inclusive. The section also contains a general provision that losses occurring in places other than those specified may be allowable where such other places are "designated by superior authority for the reception of the property”. Payment for claims in this latter category has been limited to those cases in which the evidence submitted has conclusively established that the property was in fact located in a place approved by superior authority.
The second major category of cases adjudicated under the provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations is that involving losses occurring during transportation of a member's personal property.27 As in all claims considered under the provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations, a claim for losses during transit cannot be paid unless it is established that such losses occurred incident to claimant's Navy service.28 Claimant must establish that shipment of his personal property was primarily the responsibility of the government and that the government was to bear the cost thereof.29 No reimbursement can be made where it appears that the property was being transported merely for the personal convenience of the member even though such transpor
tation may have been with the tacit approval of the Naval authorities.
Claimant must also establish that his loss in fact occurred "incident to transportation" within the meaning of section 2103b of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations. Thus, in a case where damage is allegedly attributable to transportation, the initial problem is in determining whether damage to the item claimed was in fact proximately caused by transit or by some other cause. The mere fact that an article was damaged during the transit period does not necessarily make a claim therefor payable under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations.30 It is sometimes found to be the case that damages and losses allegedly attributable to transportation causes are in fact attributable to causes of old age, poor construction, improper maintenance, or some other cause for which the government cannot accept responsibility. Such questions of causation frequently arise where claimant alleges transit damage to an electrical appliance. In such cases it is often necessary to make use of the "external damage test". Briefly stated, this test requires that evidence of damage to the internal workings of an appliance be accompanied by evidence of physical damage to the exterior of such appliance. 31 Although it is recognized that this test is not infallible, the combined experience of the military services has proven such test to be a reasonably good indicator of causation in cases where it is necessary to determine whether the alleged damage in fact occurred “incident to transportation”.
ADJUDICATION PROCESS The process of adjudication of a claim under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations must necessarily start with a formal statement of the claim. Section 2116 of the regulations specifies that claims should preferably be submitted on a form NAVEXOS/2662A but further indicates that, where such forms are not available, a clear statement of the facts of the case will be sufficient. Such statement should be in writing, should include a demand for a sum certain, and should give as complete a description of the facts as is possible.
Claimant will be expected to prove his ownership or possession of the property for which claim is made. There should also be included a description of the property lost or damaged, the date of acquisition thereof, the purchase price or value at the time of acquisition, the value of the property at the time of loss; or, if damaged only, an estimate of the cost of repair of the property. Normally, it is expected that claimant will submit sales receipts or other documentary evidence of his property rights if these are available. However, if such are not available, claimant's mere allegations of ownership or possession will, of course, be given the maximum degree of credibility.
30. JAG Itr 144.1:kmo of 17 Dec 1964.
In addition to the above evidence, claimant should submit estimates or actual repair bills for those items which are economically repairable.32 Furnishing of this information at the time of initial submission of the claim will expedite the processing thereof by eliminating the necessity of making a separate request of claimant to forward the required evidence.
Where a claimant's loss arises incident to transportation, there should be forwarded with his claim copies of the carrier's inventory sheets, showing whatever exceptions were taken by claimant as to the condition of his property at the time of its delivery to him.33 It should be noted here that the Judge Advocate General must rely heavily upon the information available from these inventory sheets. Thus, claimant should be aware of the opportunity to perfect his claim by making appropriate notations or exceptions on the inventory sheets. The very purpose of these inventories is to insure protection of both the claimant and the government in cases involving a dispute as to whether the alleged damages occurred during the transit period. In a case where inventory notations were not made by the claimant and where no satisfactory explanation was given for such omission, it was necessary to deny the claim.34 Although it is desired that a claimant be given the benefit of the doubt in these matters, the Judge Advocate General frequently has no other choice than to be guided by the information available from the inventory sheets.
Section 2117 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations spells out in detail the evidence which should be submitted in substantiation of various types of claims. In order to expedite the adjudication process, this section should be consulted by claimant prior to submission of his claim. In cases where sufficient evidence has not been submitted to meet the tests laid down in section 2117, adjudicating authorities are, of course, compelled to exercise their own discretion in determining the extent to which such a claim may be deemed payable. Thus, in a case where claimant failed to submit substantiating
evidence of purchase prices in spite of repeated requests for him to do so, it was decided that adjudication of his claim would proceed without the benefit of such information but that payment would be made only in such amounts as appeared to be reasonable to the adjudicating authority, based upon prior cases and such pricing information as could be obtained from independent sources. 35
Once preparation of the claim forms has been completed by claimant and proper substantiating evidence has been attached thereto, such forms should be filed with the Commanding Officer of the naval or Marine Corps activity nearest to the point where investigation of the case can most conveniently be made.36 Alternatively, the claim may be submitted to the Commanding Officer of the organization of which claimant is a member, even though this may be other than the most convenient investigating activity.3? In the unlikely event that claimant is not, at the time of submission of his claim, near a proper activity, then such claim may instead be submitted directly to the Chief of Naval Personnel, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, as appropriate.38 It should be noted here that the comments of the investigating and reviewing authorities are often of great assistance to adjudicating authorities in deciding the outcome of a case. It is believed that the firsthand observations of local investigative officers should be given significant weight in such deliberations. Frequently, where there is a conflict of views as to the essential facts of a case, it is necessary to accept the view of local investigating authorities as constituting the most impartial source of information. Where a claim has been submitted in accordance with normal procedures, then sections 2119-2123 should be consulted by the Claims Investigating Officers and the Commanding Officer in order to ascertain the functions to be performed by them in investigating and reviewing the claim before it is submitted to adjudicating authorities.
Once the investigating and reviewing functions have been completed, a claim should be forwarded to the appropriate adjudicating authority in accordance with sections 2124-2126 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations. Although these sections designate a number of individuals with claims settlement authority, the general breakdown of authority is as foltime of accrual thereof. Where claimant desires to appeal the initial decision rendered on his claim, section 2129 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations specifies that such appeal must be submitted through official channels to the Secretary of the Navy (Judge Advocate General) within six months after the date claimant receives notice of the initial decision.
32. JAG Manual, sec. 2117a (4).
35. JAG Itr 144.1:kmo of 19 Dec 1963.
lows: claims of Navy military personnel are to be forwarded to the Chief of Naval Personnel ; claims of Marine Corps military personnel are to be forwarded to the Commandant of the Marine Corps; and claims of both Navy and Marine Corps civilian personnel are to be forwarded to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. If claims submitted to any of these initial adjudicating authorities are approved, payment will then be forthcoming from either the U.S. Navy Finance Center or the Quartermaster General of the Marine Corps.
Occasionally, a claimant may not fully understand the basis upon which an award has been made or denied on his claim. Claimant's first recourse in such a case is to write the initial adjudicating authority, setting forth his points of misunderstanding or disagreement and informally requesting fuller explanation or reconsideration of his claim. If, however, claimant is not satisfied after pursuing this intermediate step, he may submit a formal appeal of his claim to the Secretary of the Navy (Judge Advocate General).39 If it is then determined that claimant's contentions merit consideration on appeal, the Judge Advocate General will review the entire case and make a final determination thereof.
Brief mention should be made here of the limitations periods applicable both to initial submission of claims and to appeal of claims under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations. Initial submission of a claim must normally be made within two years after such claim accrues.40 Section 2107 notes, however, that claims arising during time of war or armed conflict may be submitted at such subsequent times as are specified therein. It should be observed that practical application of this section by the Judge Advocate General depends upon what is considered to constitute the time of accrual of a claim. Normally, the time of accrual will be deemed to be that time at which a loss actually occurred, or, at least, the time at which claimant had notice that a loss had occurred.41 Although special cases may require further interpretation of the language of section 2107, it is sufficient for the prospective claimant to be aware of the fact that he must normally submit a claim under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations within two years after he discovers his loss. As can well be imagined, the task of assembling necessary evidence to substantiate a claim becomes exceedingly difficult as submission of the claim is delayed past the 39. JAG Manual, sec. 2129. 40. JAG Manual, sec. 2107.
CLAIMS NOT PAYABLE The provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations which most frequently require interpretation by the Judge Advocate General are those set out under the heading of section 2104, "Claims Not Payable". Sections under this heading list a number of instances in which claims will not be paid. These exclusionary sections are independent in application, but are related in their enforcement of the general requirement under section 2102 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations” that claims will not be paid unless they are found to be “reasonable, useful, or proper under the circumstances”. Again, it should be noted that it is not the intent of this article to discuss every section of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations. Rather, only those sections will be discussed which are likely to be of general interest to a large number of potential claimants or which have been the subject of extensive interpretation by the Judge Advocate General.
Section 2104a declares that claims for money or currency will not be allowed except under the conditions laid down therein. This section must be applied most often to cases involving a loss of money as a result of theft from quarters. Before such a claim can be approved, claimant must demonstrate that he has complied with what is informally known as the "double container rule". This rule states that claims for the theft of money or currency will not be allowed unless it is conclusively established that, at the time of the alleged theft, such money or currency was not only secured in locked quarters but also was secured in an independently locked container within the locked quarters. Reasons for this rule stem, of course, from the fact that money or currency is of the highest attraction to a would-be thief and is susceptible to easy pilfering by him. Additionally, claimant should be aware of the fact that, even if other requirements of section 2104a are met, reimbursement will not necessarily be made for the entire amount of money or currency lost. Rather, reimbursement will be limited to such amount as the adjudicating authority determines reasonable for the claimant to have had in his possession at the time of the theft.
41. JAG Itr 144.1:sad ser 1152 of 1 Mar 1965.
The next two sections will be considered jointly since a great number of items of personal property come within the purview of both and since a single precaution may be taken by the prospective claimant to ensure complete compliance with the provisions thereof. Unless certain requirements are met, these two sections, 2104b and 2104d, require the disallowance of items falling within the category of "easily pilferable articles" or "articles of extraordinary value", respectively. Each section lists specific items for which payment can be made only under certain circumstances. Items listed in the section dealing with "easily pilferable articles” are as follows: jewels and jewelry, including costume jewelry; cameras and accessories; watches; rings; binoculars; necklaces; and other small articles of substantial value “usually worn or carried and easily pilferable”. Items specifically listed in the section dealing with "articles of extraordinary value” include the following: expensive articles of gold, silver, or other precious metals, paintings; antiques, other than bulky furnishings; relics; authentic oriental or similar rugs; and other articles of extraordinary value.
The above comments notwithstanding, a prospective claimant need not concern himself with the restrictive provisions just discussed so long as he takes a simple precaution prescribed by sections 2104b and 2104d. It is stated in both sections that a member may avoid application thereof, and consequent disallowance of his claim for the specified items, by the simple procedure of requesting Household Goods Personnel to ship such items by “expedited mode in accordance with current Joint Travel Regulations”. In addition to the items specifically isted above, a prospective claimant should be ware of the fact that other items of a similar nature have been held to come within the general ategories described. Thus, opinions of the udge Advocate General have frequently held hat transistor radios come within the general rovision of section 2104b pertaining to "other mall articles of substantial value usually worn r carried”.42 In view of the broad application f this general provision and that of section 104d pertaining to "other articles of extraorinary value”, it would be well for a claimant
consider which items of personal property wned by him might come within these general rovisions, even though not listed specifically, that he could take proper protective measures required therein. If protection by expedited ode of shipment is not requested by claimant, JAG Itr 144.1:jcs ser 6816 of 16 Sep 1963.
then adjudicating authorities have no choice but to deny a claim for such items under the above provisions and under the additional provisions of section 21040 relating to damage or loss of claimant's property by virtue of his own negligence.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the primary responsibility for insuring that a particular shipment of goods is dispatched in accordance with the above sections of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations rests with the member doing the shipping. It is imperative, therefore, that such member inform himself as to pertinent provisions of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations or request necessary information from the proper authorities.
Normally, articles being worn by a claimant at the time of their alleged damage or loss are not allowable under the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations.43 Thus, it was necessary to deny a claim for eye glasses being worn by a claimant at the time of alleged damage.44 The theory behind such disallowance is that an individual is considered to be in a better position to protect those items worn or carried on his person than he might be as to items outside the scope of his personal surveillance. Section 2104f places the full responsibility for such items upon the individual who chooses to wear or carry them on his person. There are, however, certain exceptions to the general rule. These exceptions are listed in sections 2103 c, d, and e of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations and should be consulted in order to ascertain the exact conditions under which it may be possible to receive compensation for articles lost or damaged while being worn or carried.
Occasionally, a claim will be submitted for intangible property. Section 2104g of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations states, however, that no award can be made for such property. Included in the category of intangibles under this section are the following: bank books, checks, promissory notes, stock certificates, bonds, bills of lading, warehouse receipts, baggage checks, insurance policies, money orders, and travelers checks.
Section 21040 of the Navy Personnel Claims Regulations points up an essential difference between the protection afforded personal property by private insurance and that afforded by the government under the Military Personnel Claims Act. Contrary to the provisions of many private insurance policies on household effects, section 21040 prohibits payment of any 43. JAG Manual, sec. 2104f. 44. JAG Itr 144.1:kmo of 13 Feb 1964.