Excluded Classes of Claimants
The following types of classes of claimants are
excluded from recovering under the FCA:
. Inhabitants of the United States, including
military members and dependents stationed in a foreign
country and U.S. citizens and resident aliens temporarily
visiting the foreign country
. Enemy aliens, unless the claimant is determined
to be friendly to the United States
. Insurers and subrogee
MEASURE OF DAMAGES
Damages under the FCA are determined by
applying the law and local standards of recovery of the
country where the incident occurred.
The maximum amount payable under the FCA is
$100,000. In the case of a meritorious claim above that
amount, the Secretary of the Navy may pay up to
$100,000 and certify the balance to Congress for
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The claim must be presented within 2 years after the
claim accrues. If the claim is presented to a foreign
government within this period, pursuant to treaty or
executive agreement provisions, the statute of
limitations requirement will be satisfied.
Under the FCA, the investigation and adjudication
functions are merged in a foreign claims commission
that the commanding officer appoints. The foreign
claims commission not only conducts an investigation
similar to a JAG Manual investigation not requiring a
hearing, but also is empowered to settle the claim within
certain dollar limits.
Facts. USS Getunderway was making a goodwill
visit to Alexandria, Egypt. EM3 Party went on liberty.
Wanting to see as much of the countryside as he could,
he hot-wired a car parked near the pier. Later that night,
while driving extremely fast, high on hashish, and
carefully sipping his ouzo, EM3 Party smashed the car
into a tree. The owner, Mr. Mycarbustad, an Egyptian
citizen, wants to file a claim. Can he collect?
Solution. Yes, Even though EM3 Partys acts were
not in the scope of his employment, were highly
negligent, and involved criminal acts, the claim is
payable under the FCA.
Admiralty is a vast, highly specialized area of law.
The purpose of this section is merely to provide a brief
introduction to admiralty claims, with specific focus on
the commands responsibilities.
ADMIRALTY LAW DEFINED
Admiralty law involves liability arising out of
maritime incidents such as collisions, grounding, and
spills. Admiralty claims may be asserted either against
or in favor of the federal government. The Navys
admiralty claims usually are handled by attorneys in the
Admiralty Division of OJAG. Other judge advocates
with specialized admiralty training are located at larger
NLSOs and at certain overseas commands. When
admiralty claims result in litigation, attorneys with the
Department of Justice, in cooperation with the
Admiralty Division, represent the Navy in court. Thus,
while the command has little involvement in the
adjudication or litigation of admiralty claims, it often
has critical investigative responsibilities.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND
Suits in Admiralty Act, 46 U.S.C. § 741-752
(1982)The Suits in Admiralty Act provides that a suit
in admiralty may be brought against the federal
government in all circumstances under which an
admiralt y suit could be brought against a private party
Public Vessels Act, 46 U.S.C. § 781-790
(1982)The Public Vessels Act supplements the Suits
in Admiralty Act and provides for admiralty remedies in
cases involving naval vessels.
10 U.S.C. § 7623 (1982)Section 7623 of Title 10,
U.S.C., provides for settlement of claims by the
government against private parties and vessels.
JAG Manual Chapter XII of the JAG Manual
prescribes the Navys regulations governing reporting,
investigation, and adjudication of admiralty claims for
and against the government.