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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 21, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VSubchapter BPart 536 → Subpart B


Title 32: National Defense
PART 536—CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES


Subpart B—Investigation and Processing of Claims


Contents
§536.22   Claims investigative responsibility—General.
§536.23   Identifying claims incidents both for and against the government.
§536.24   Delegation of investigative responsibility.
§536.25   Procedures for accepting claims.
§536.26   Identification of a proper claim.
§536.27   Identification of a proper claimant.
§536.28   Claims acknowledgment.
§536.29   Revision of filed claims.
§536.30   Action upon receipt of claim.
§536.31   Opening claim files.
§536.32   Transfer of claims among armed services branches.
§536.33   Use of small claims procedures.
§536.34   Determination of correct statute.
§536.35   Unique issues related to environmental claims.
§536.36   Related remedies.
§536.37   Importance of the claims investigation.
§536.38   Elements of the investigation.
§536.39   Use of experts, consultants and appraisers.
§536.40   Conducting the investigation.
§536.41   Determination of liability—generally.
§536.42   Constitutional torts.
§536.43   Incident to service.
§536.44   FECA and LSHWCA claims exclusions.
§536.45   Statutory exceptions.
§536.46   Other exclusions.
§536.47   Statute of limitations.
§536.48   Federal employee requirement.
§536.49   Scope of employment requirement.
§536.50   Determination of damages—applicable law.
§536.51   Collateral source rule.
§536.52   Subrogation.
§536.53   Evaluation of claims—general rules and guidelines.
§536.54   Joint tortfeasors.
§536.55   Structured settlements.
§536.56   Negotiations—purpose and extent.
§536.57   Who should negotiate.
§536.58   Settlement negotiations with unrepresented claimants.
§536.59   Settlement or approval authority.
§536.60   Splitting property damage and personal injury claims.
§536.61   Advance payments.
§536.62   Action memorandums.
§536.63   Settlement agreements.
§536.64   Final offers.
§536.65   Denial notice.
§536.66   The “Parker” denial.
§536.67   Mailing procedures.
§536.68   Appeal or reconsideration.
§536.69   Retention of file.
§536.70   Preparation and forwarding of payment vouchers.
§536.71   Fund sources.
§536.72   Finality of settlement.

§536.22   Claims investigative responsibility—General.

(a) Scope. This subpart addresses the investigation, processing, evaluation, and settlement of tort and tort-related claims for and against the United States. The provisions of this subpart do not apply to personnel claims (AR 27-20, chapter 11), or to claims under subpart G of this part, §§536.114 through 536.116.

(b) Cooperation. Claims investigation requires team effort between the U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS), command claims services, and area claims offices (ACOs) including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) District Offices, claims processing offices (CPOs), and unit claims officers. Essential to this effort is the immediate investigation of claims incidents. Prompt investigation depends on the timely reporting of claims incidents as well as continuous communication between all commands or echelons bearing claims responsibility.

(c) Notification to USARCS. A CPO or an ACO receiving notice of a potentially compensable event (PCE) that requires investigation will immediately refer it to the appropriate claims office. The Commander USARCS will be notified of all major incidents involving serious injury or death or those in which property damage exceeds $50,000. A command claims service may delegate to an ACO the responsibility for advising USARCS of serious incidents and complying with mirror file requirements. A copy of the written delegation and any changes made thereafter will be forwarded to the Commander USARCS.

(d) Geographic concept of responsibility. A command claims service or an ACO in whose geographic area a claims incident occurs is primarily responsible for initiating investigation and processing of any claim filed in the absence of a formal transfer of responsibility (see §§536.30 through 536.36). DOD and Army organizations whose personnel are involved in the incident will cooperate with and assist the ACO, regardless of where the former may be located.

Note to §536.22: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-1.

§536.23   Identifying claims incidents both for and against the government.

(a) Investigation is required when:

(1) There is property loss or damage.

(i) Property other than that belonging to the government is damaged, lost, or destroyed by an act or omission of a government employee or a member of North Atlantic Treaty Association (NATO), Australian or Singaporean forces stationed or on temporary duty within the United States.

(ii) Property belonging to the government is damaged or lost by a tortious act or omission not covered by the report of survey system or by a carrier's bill of lading.

(2) There is personal injury or death.

(i) A civilian other than an employee of the U.S. government is injured or killed by an act or omission of a government employee or by a member of a NATO, Australian or Singaporean force stationed or on temporary duty within the United States. (This category includes patients injured during treatment by a health care provider).

(ii) Service members, active or retired, family members of either, or U.S. employees, are injured or killed by a third party and receive medical care at government expense.

(3) A claim is filed.

(4) A competent authority or another armed service or federal agency requires investigation.

(b) Determining who is a government employee is a matter of federal, not local, law. Categories of government employees usually accepted as tortfeasors under federal law are:

(1) Military personnel (soldiers of the Army, or members of other services where the Army exercises single-service jurisdiction on foreign soil; and soldiers or employees within the United States who are members of NATO or of other foreign military forces with whom the United States has a reciprocal claims agreement and whose sending States have certified that they were acting within the scope of their duty) who are serving on full-time active duty in a pay status, including soldiers:

(i) Assigned to units performing active or inactive duty.

(ii) Serving on active duty as Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) instructors.

(iii) Serving as Army National Guard (ARNG) instructors or advisors.

(iv) On duty or training with other federal agencies, for example: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of State, the Navy, the Air Force, or DOD (federal agencies other than the armed service to which the Soldier is attached may also provide a remedy).

(v) Assigned as students or ordered into training at a non-federal civilian educational institution, hospital, factory, or other facility (excluding soldiers on excess leave or those for whom the training institution or organization has assumed liability by written agreement).

(vi) Serving on full-time duty at nonappropriated fund (NAF) activities.

(vii) Of the United States Army Reserve (USAR) and ARNG on active duty under Title 10, U.S.C.

(2) Military personnel who are United States Army Reserve soldiers including ROTC cadets who are Army Reserve soldiers while at annual training, during periods of active duty and inactive duty training.

(3) Military personnel who are soldiers of the ARNG while engaged in training or duty under 32 U.S.C. 316, 502, 503, 504, 505, or engaged in properly authorized community action projects under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), the Non-Scope Claims Act (NSCA), or the National Guard Claims Act (NGCA), unless performing duties in furtherance of a mission for a state, commonwealth, territory or possession.

(4) Civilian officials and employees of both the DOD and DA (there is no practical significance to the distinction between the terms “official” and “employee”), including but not limited to the following:

(i) Civil service and other full-time employees of both the DOD and DA who are paid from appropriated funds.

(ii) Persons providing direct health care services pursuant to personal service contracts under 10 U.S.C. 1089 or 1091 or where another person exercised control over the health care provider's day-to-day practice. When the conduct of a health care provider performing services under a personal service contract is implicated in a claim, the CJA, Medical Claims Judge Advocate (MCJA), or claims attorney should consult with USARCS to determine if that health care provider can be considered an employee for purposes of coverage.

(iii) Employees of a NAF instrumentality (NAFI) if it is an instrumentality of the United States and thus a federal agency. To determine whether a NAFI is a “federal agency,” consider both whether it is an integral part of the Army charged with an essential DA operational function and also what degree of control and supervision DA personnel exercise over it. Members or users, unlike employees of NAFIs, are not considered government employees; the same is true of family child care providers. However, claims arising out of the use of some NAFI property or from the acts or omissions of family child care providers may be payable from such funds under subpart K of this part as a matter of policy, even when the user is not acting within the scope of employment and the claim is not otherwise cognizable under any of the other authorities described in this part.

(5) Prisoners of war and interned enemy aliens.

(6) Civilian employees of the District of Columbia ARNG, including those paid under “service contracts” from District of Columbia funds.

(7) Civilians serving as ROTC instructors paid from federal funds.

(8) ARNG technicians employed under 32 U.S.C. 709(a) for claims accruing on or after January 1, 1969 (Public Law 90-486, August 13, 1968 (82 Stat. 755)), unless performing duties solely in pursuit of a mission for a state, commonwealth, territory or possession.

(9) Persons acting in an official capacity for the DOD or DA either temporarily or permanently with or without compensation, including but not limited to the following:

(i) Dollar-a-year personnel.

(ii) Members of advisory committees, commissions, or boards.

(iii) Volunteers serving in an official capacity in furtherance of the business of the United States, limited to those categories set forth in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-45.

Note to §536.23: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-2.

§536.24   Delegation of investigative responsibility.

(a) Area Claims Office. An ACO is authorized to carry out its investigative responsibility as follows:

(1) At the request of the area claims authority, commanders and heads of Army and DOD units, activities, or components will appoint a commissioned, warrant, or noncommissioned officer or a qualified civilian employee to investigate a claims incident in the manner set forth in DA Pam 27-162 and this part. An ACO will direct such investigation to the extent deemed necessary.

(2) CPOs are responsible for investigating claims incidents arising out of the activities and operations of their command or agency. An ACO may assign area jurisdiction to a CPO after coordination with the appropriate commander to investigate claims incidents arising in the ACO's designated geographic area. (See §536.3(f).)

(3) Claims incidents involving patients arising from treatment by a health care provider in an Army medical treatment facility (MTF), including providers defined in 536.23(b)(4)(ii), will be investigated by a claims judge advocate (CJA), medical claims judge advocate (MCJA), or claims attorney rather than by a unit claims officer.

(4) An ACO will publish and distribute a claims directive to all DOD and Army installations and activities including active, Army Reserve, and ARNG units as well as units located on the post at which the ACO is located. The directive will outline each installations' and activities' claims responsibilities. It will institute a serious claims incident reporting system.

(b) Command claims service responsibility. A command claims service is responsible for the investigation and processing of claims incidents arising in its geographic area of responsibility or for any incidents within the authority of any foreign claims commission (FCC) it appoints. This responsibility will be carried out by an ACO or a CPO to the extent possible. A command claims service will publish a claims directive outlining the geographic areas of claims investigative responsibilities of each of its installations and activities, requiring each ACO or CPO to report all serious claims incidents directly to the Commander USARCS.

(c) USARCS responsibility. USARCS exercises technical supervision over all claims offices, providing guidance on specific cases throughout the claims process, including the method of investigation. Where indicated, USARCS may investigate a claims incident that normally falls within a command claims services', an ACO's, or a CPO's jurisdiction. USARCS typically acts through an area action officer (AAO) who is assigned as the primary point of contact with command claims services, ACOs or CPOs within a given geographic area. In areas outside the United States and its commonwealths, territories and possessions, where there is no command claims service or ACO, USARCS is responsible for investigation and for appointment of FCCs.

Note to §536.24: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-3.

§536.25   Procedures for accepting claims.

All ACOs and CPOs will institute procedures to ensure that potential claimants or attorneys speak to a CJA, claims attorney, investigator, or examiner. On initial contact, claims personnel will render assistance, discuss all aspects of the potential claim, and determine what statutes or procedures apply. Assistance will be furnished to the extent set forth in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-4. To advise claimants on the correct remedy, claims personnel will familiarize themselves with the remedies listed in DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-15 and 2-17.

§536.26   Identification of a proper claim.

(a) A claim is a writing that contains a sum certain for each claimant and that is signed by each claimant, or by an authorized representative, who must furnish written authority to sign on a claimant's behalf. The writing must contain enough information to permit investigation. The writing must be received not later than two years from the date the claim accrues. A claim under the Foreign Claims Act (FCA) may be presented orally to either the United States or the government of the foreign country in which the incident occurred, within two years, provided that it is reduced to writing not later than three years from the date of accrual. A claim may be transmitted by facsimile or telegram. However, a copy of an original claim must be submitted as soon as possible.

(b) Where a claim is only for property damage and it is filed under circumstances where there might be injuries, the CJA should inquire if the claimant desires to split the claim as discussed in §536.60.

(c) Normally, a claim will be presented on a Standard Form (SF) 95 (Claim for Damage, Injury, or Death). When the claim is not presented on an SF 95, the claimant will be requested to complete an SF 95 to ease investigation and processing.

(d) If a claim names two claimants and states only one sum certain, the claimants will be requested to furnish a sum certain for each. A separate sum certain must be obtained prior to payment under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), Military Claims Act (MCA), National Guard Claims Act (NGCA) or the FCA. The Financial Management Service will only pay an amount above the threshold amount of $2,500 for the FTCA, or $100,000 for the other statutes.

(e) A properly filed claim meeting the definition of “claim” in paragraph (a) of this section tolls the two-year statute of limitations (SOL) even though the documents required to substantiate the claim are not present, such as those listed on the back of an SF 95 or in the Attorney General's regulations implementing the FTCA, 28 CFR 14.1—14.11. However, refusal to provide such documents may lead to dismissal of a subsequent suit under the FTCA or denial of a claim under other subparts of this part.

(f) Receipt of a claim by another federal agency does not toll the SOL. Receipt of a U.S. Army claim by DOD, Navy, or Air Force does toll the SOL.

(g) The guidelines set forth in federal FTCA case law will apply to other subparts of this part in determining whether a proper claim was filed.

Note to §536.26: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-5.

§536.27   Identification of a proper claimant.

The following are proper claimants:

(a) Claims for property loss or damage. A claim may be presented by the owner of the property or by a duly authorized agent or legal representative in the owner's name. As used in this part, the term “owner” includes the following:

(1) For real property. The mortgagor, mortgagee, executor, administrator, or personal representative, if he or she may maintain a cause of action in the local courts involving a tort to the specific property, is a proper claimant. When notice of divided interests in real property is received, the claim should if feasible be treated as a single claim and a release from all interests must be obtained. This includes both the owner and tenant where both claim.

(2) For personal property. A claim may be presented by a bailee, lessee, mortgagee, conditional vendor, or others holding title for purposes of security only, unless specifically prohibited by the applicable subpart. When notice of divided interests in personal property is received, the claim should if feasible be treated as a single claim; a release from all interests must be obtained. Property loss is defined as loss of actual tangible property, not consequential damage resulting from such loss.

(b) Claims for personal injury or wrongful death—(1) For personal injury. A claim may be presented by the injured person or by a duly authorized agent or legal representative or, where the claimant is a minor, by a parent or a person in loco parentis. However, determine whether the claimant is a proper claimant under applicable state law or, if considered under the MCA, under §536.77. If not, the claimant should be so informed in the acknowledgment letter and requested to withdraw the claim. If not withdrawn, deny the claim without delay. An example is a claim filed on behalf of a minor for loss of consortium for injury to a parent where not permitted by state law. Personal injury claims deriving from the principal injury may be presented by other parties. A claim may not be presented by a “volunteer,” meaning one who has no legal or contractual obligation, yet voluntarily pays damages on behalf of an injured party and then seeks reimbursement for their economic damages by filing a claim. See paragraph (f) (3) of this section.

(2) For wrongful death. A claim may be presented by the executor or administrator of the deceased's estate, or by any person determined to be legally or beneficially entitled under applicable local law. The amount allowed will be apportioned, to the extent practicable, among the beneficiaries in accordance with the law applicable to the incident. Under the MCA (subpart C of this part), only one wrongful death claim is authorized (see §536.77(c)(1)(i)). Under subparts D and H of this part, a claim by the insured for property damage may be considered as a claim by the insurer as the real party in interest provided the insured has been reimbursed by the insurer and the insurance information is listed on the SF 95. The insurer should be required to file a separate SF 95 for payment purposes even though the SOL has expired. Where the insurance information is not listed on the SF 95 and the insured is paid by the United States, the payment of the insurer is the responsibility of the insured even though the insurer subsequently files a timely claim. To avoid this situation, always inquire as to the status of any insurance prior to payment of a property damage claim.

(c) By an agent or legal representative. A claimant's agent or legal representative who presents a claim will do so in the claimant's name and sign the form in such a way that indicates the agent's or legal representative's title or capacity. When a claim is presented by an agent or legal representative:

(1) It must contain written evidence of the agent's or legal representative's authority to sign, such as a power of attorney, or

(2) It must refer to or cite the statute granting authority.

(d) Subrogation. A claim may be presented by the subrogee in his or her own name if authorized by the law of the place where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred, under subpart D or H of this part only. A lienholder is not a proper claimant and should be distinguished from a subrogee to avoid violation of the Antiassignment Act. See paragraph (f) of this section. However, liens arising under Medicare will be processed directly with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Systems. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-57g and h and 2-58.

(e) Contribution or indemnity. A claim may be filed for contribution or indemnification by the party who was held liable as a joint tortfeasor where authorized by state law. Such a claim is not perfected until payment has been made by the claimant/joint tortfeasor. A claim filed for contribution prior to payment being made should be considered as an opportunity to share a settlement where the United States is liable.

(f) Transfer or assignment. (1) Under the Antiassignment Act (31 U.S.C. 3727) and Defense Finance and Accounting Service—Indianpolis (DFAS-IN) regulation 37-1, a transfer or assignment is null and void except where it occurs by operation of law or after a voucher for the payment has been issued. The following are null and void:

(i) Every purported transfer or assignment of a claim against the United States, or any interest, in whole or in part, on a claim, whether absolute or conditional; and

(ii) Every power of attorney or other purported authority to receive payment for all or part of any such claim.

(2) The Antiassignment Act was enacted to eliminate multiple payment of claims, to cause the United States to deal only with original parties and to prevent persons of influence from purchasing claims against the United States.

(3) In general, this statute prohibits voluntary assignments of claims, with the exception of transfers or assignments made by operation of law. The operation of law exception has been held to apply to claims passing to assignees because of bankruptcy proceedings, assignments for the benefit of creditors, corporate liquidations, consolidations, or reorganizations, and where title passes by operation of law to heirs or legatees. Subrogated claims that arise under a statute are not barred by the Antiassignment Act. For example, subrogated workers' compensation claims are cognizable when presented by the insurer under subpart D or H of this part, but not other subparts.

(4) Subrogated claims that arise pursuant to contractual provisions may be paid to the subrogee, if the legal basis for the subrogated claim is recognized by state statute or case law, only under subpart D or H of this part. For example, an insurer that issues an insurance policy becomes subrogated to the rights of a claimant who receives payment of a property damage claim. Generally, such subrogated claims are authorized by state law and are therefore not barred by the Antiassignment Act.

(5) Before claims are paid, it is necessary to determine whether there may be a valid subrogated claim under a federal or state statute or a subrogation contract held valid by state law.

(g) Interdepartmental waiver rule. Neither the U.S. government nor any of its instrumentalities are proper claimants due to the interdepartmental waiver rule. This rule bars claims by any organization or activity of the Army, whether or not the organization or activity is funded with appropriated or nonappropriated funds. Certain federal agencies are authorized by statute to file claims, for example, Medicare and the Railroad Retirement Commission. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-17f.

(h) States are excluded. If a state, U.S. commonwealth, territory, or the District of Columbia maintains a unit to which ARNG personnel causing the injury or damage are assigned, such governmental entity is not a proper claimant for loss or damage to its property. A unit of local government other than a state, commonwealth, or territory is a proper claimant.

Note to §536.27: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-6.

§536.28   Claims acknowledgment.

Claims personnel will acknowledge all claims immediately upon receipt, in writing, by telephone, or in person. A defective claim will be acknowledged in writing, pointing out its defects. Where the defects render the submission jurisdictionally deficient based on the requirements discussed in DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-5 and 2-6, the claimant or attorney will be informed in writing of the need to present a proper claim no later than two years from the date of accrual. Suit must be filed in maritime claims not later than two years from the date of accrual. See §536.122. In any claim for personal injury or wrongful death, an authorization signed by the patient, natural or legal guardian or estate representative will be obtained authorizing the use of medical information, including medical records, in order to use sources other than claims personnel to evaluate the claim as required by the Health Care Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. 1320d-1320d-8. See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-7.

§536.29   Revision of filed claims.

(a) General. A revision or change of a previously filed claim may constitute an amendment or a new claim. Upon receipt, the CJA must determine whether a new claim has been filed. If so, the claim must be logged with a new number and acknowledged in accordance with §536.27.

(b) New claim. A new claim is filed whenever the writing alleges a new theory of liability, a new tortfeasor, a new party claimant, a different date or location for the claims incident, or other basic element that constitutes an allegation of a different tort not originally alleged. If the allegation is made verbally or by e-mail, the claimant will be informed in writing that a new SF 95 must be filed. A new claim must be filed not later than two years from the accrual date under the FTCA. Filing a new claim creates an additional six month period during which suit may not be filed.

(c) Amendment. An increase or decrease in the amount claimed constitutes an amendment, not a new claim. Similarly, the addition of required information not on the original claim constitutes an amendment. Examples are date of birth, marital status, military status, names of witnesses, claimant's address, description, or location of property or insurance information. An amendment may be filed before or after the two year SOL has run unless final action has been taken. A new number will not be assigned to an amended claim; however, a change in the amount will be annotated in the database.

Note to §536.29: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-8.

§536.30   Action upon receipt of claim.

(a) A properly filed claim stops the running of the SOL when it is received by any organization or activity of the DOD or the U.S. Armed Services. Placing a claim in the mail does not constitute filing. The first Army claims office that receives the claim will date, time stamp, and initial the claim as of the date the claim was initially received “on post,” not by the claims office. If initially received close to the SOL's expiration date by an organization or activity that does not have a claims office, claims personnel will discover and record in the file the date of original receipt.

(b) The ACO or CPO that first receives the claim will enter the claim into the Tort and Special Claims Application (TSCA) database and let the system assign a number to the claim. The claim, whether on an SF 95 or in any other format, shall be scanned into a computer and uploaded onto the TSCA database so that it will become a permanent part of the electronic record. A joint claim will be given a number for each claimant, for example, husband and wife, injured parent and children. If only one sum is filed for all claimants, the same sum will be assigned for each claimant. However, request the claimant to name a sum for each claimant. The claim will bear this number throughout the claims process. Upon transfer, a new number will not be assigned by the receiving office. If a claim does not meet the definition of a proper claim under §§536.26 and 536.27, it will be date stamped and logged as a Potentially Compensable Event (PCE).

(c) The claim will be transferred if the claim incident arose in another ACO's geographic area; the receiving ACO will use the claims number originally assigned.

(d) Non-Appropriated Fund Instrumentality (NAFI) claims that relate to claims determined cognizable under subpart K of this part will be marked with the symbol “NAFI” immediately following the claimant's name, to preclude erroneous payment from appropriated funds (APF). This symbol will also be included in the subject line of all correspondence.

(e) Upon receipt, copies of the claims will be furnished as follows (when a current e-mail address is available and it is agreeable with the receiving party, providing copies by e-mail is acceptable):

(1) To USARCS, if the amount claimed exceeds $25,000, or $50,000 per incident. However, if the claim arises under the FTCA or AMCSA, only furnish copies if the amount claimed exceeds $50,000, or $100,000 per incident.

(2) For medical malpractice claims, to the appropriate MTF Commander/s through MEDCOM Headquarters, and to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology at the addresses listed below.

MEDCOM, ATTN: MCHO-CL-Q, 2050 Worth Road, Suite 26, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-5026.

Department of Legal Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1335 E. West Highway, #6-100, Silver Spring, MD 20910-6254, Commercial: 301-295-8115, e-mail: casha@afip.osd.mil.

(3) If the claim is against AAFES forward a copy to: HQ Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), ATTN: Office of the General Counsel (GC-Z), P.O. Box 650062, Dallas, TX 75265-0062, e-mail: blanchp@aafes.com.

(4) If the claim involves a NAFI, including a recreational user or family child care provider forward a copy to: Army Central Insurance Fund, ATTN: CFSC-FM-I, 4700 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302-4406, e-mail: riskmanagement@cfsc.army.mil.

(f) ACOs or CPOs will furnish a copy of any medical or dental malpractice claim to the MTF or dental treatment facility commander and advise the commander of all subsequent actions. The commander will be assisted in his or her responsibility to complete DD Form 2526 (Case Abstract for Malpractice Claims).

Note to §536.30: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-9.

§536.31   Opening claim files.

A claim file will be opened when:

(a) Information that requires investigation under §536.23 is received.

(b) Records or other documents are requested by a potential claimant or legal representative.

(c) A claim is filed.

Note to §536.31: See the parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-10.

§536.32   Transfer of claims among armed services branches.

(a) Claims filed with the wrong federal agency, or claims that should be adjudicated by receiving State offices under NATO or other SOFA, will be immediately transferred to the proper agency together with notice of same to the claimant or legal representative. Where multiple federal agencies are involved, other agencies will be contacted and a lead agency established to take all actions on the claim. Where the DA is the lead agency, any final action will include other agencies. Similarly, where another agency is the lead agency, that agency will be requested to include DA in any final action. Such inclusion will prevent multiple dates for filing suit or appeal.

(b) If another agency has taken denial action on a claim that involves the DA, without informing the DA, and in which the DA desires to make a payment, the denial action may be reconsidered by the DA not later than six months from the date of mailing and payment made thereafter.

Note to §536.32: See also §§536.17 and 536.18; AR 27-20, paragraph 13-2; and the parallel and related discussion of this topic at DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 1-19, 1-20, 2-13 and 13-2.

§536.33   Use of small claims procedures.

Small claims procedures are authorized for use whenever a claim may be settled for $5,000 or less. These procedures are designed to save processing time and eliminate the need for most of the documentation otherwise required. These procedures are described in DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-14 and 2-26.

§536.34   Determination of correct statute.

(a) Consideration under more than one statute. When Congress enacted the various claims statutes, it intended to allow federal agencies to settle meritorious claims. A claim must be considered under other statutes in this part unless one particular statute precludes the use of other statutes, whether the claim is filed on DD Form 1842 (Claim for Loss of or Damage to Personal Property Incident to Service) or SF 95. Prior to denial of an AR 27-20, chapter 11 claim, consider whether it may fall within the scope of subparts C, D, or F of this part, and where indicated, question the claimant to determine whether the claim sounds in tort.

(b) Exclusiveness of certain remedies. Certain remedies exclude all others. For example, the Court of Federal Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over U.S. Constitution Fifth Amendment takings, express or implied-in-fact, as well as governmental contract losses, or intangible property losses. Claims of this nature for $10,000 or less may be filed in a U.S. District Court. There is no administrative remedy. While the FTCA is the preemptive tort remedy in the United States, its commonwealths, territories and possessions, nevertheless, other remedies must be exhausted prior to favorable consideration under the FTCA. The FTCA does not preclude use of the MCA or the NGCA for claims arising out of noncombat activities or brought by soldiers for incident-to-service property losses sustained within the United States. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-15a and b for a more detailed discussion of determining the correct statute for property claims versus personal injury and death claims. In addition, it is important to consider the nature of the claim, e.g., whether the claim may be medical malpractice in nature, related to postal matter, or an automobile accident. Discussions of these and many other different types of claims are also provided herein as well as in the corresponding paragraph 2-15 of DA Pam 27-162. It is also very important to consider when a claim may fall outside the jurisdiction of the Army claims system. Some of these instances are alluded to immediately above, but for a detailed discussion of related remedies see §536.36 of this part and paragraph 2-17 of DA Pam 27-162.

(c) Status of Forces Agreement claims. (1) Claims arising out of the performance of official duties in a foreign country where the United States is the sending State must be filed and processed under a SOFA, provided that the claimant is a proper party claimant under the SOFA. DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-15c sets forth the rules applicable in particular countries. A SOFA provides an exclusive remedy subject to waiver as set forth in §536.76(h) of this part.

(2) Single-service jurisdiction is established for all foreign countries in which a SOFA is in effect and for certain other countries. A list of these countries is posted on the USARCS Web site; for the address see §536.2(a). Claims will be processed by the service exercising single-service responsibility. In the United States, USARCS is the receiving State office and all SOFA claims should be forwarded immediately to USARCS for action. Appropriate investigation under subpart B of this part procedures is required of an ACO or a CPO under USARCS' direction.

(d) Foreign Claims Act claims. (1) Claims by foreign inhabitants, arising in a foreign country, which are not cognizable under a SOFA, fall exclusively under the FCA. The determination as to whether a claimant is a foreign inhabitant is governed by the rules set out in subpart C and subpart J of this part. In case of doubt, this determination must be based on information obtained from the claimant and others, particularly where the claimant is a former U.S. service member or a U.S. citizen residing in a foreign country.

(2) Tort claims will be processed by the armed service that exercises single-service responsibility. When requested, the Commander USARCS may furnish a Judge Advocate or civilian attorney to serve as a Foreign Claims Commission (FCC) for another service. With the concurrence of the Commander USARCS, Army JAs may be appointed as members of another department's foreign claims commissions. See subpart J of this part. The FCA permits compensation for damages caused by “out-of-scope” tortious conduct of Soldier and civilian employees. Many of these claims are also compensable under Article 139, Uniform Code of Military Justice. See DA Pam 27-162, chap. 9. To avoid the double payment of claims, ACOs and CPOs must promptly notify the Command Claims Service of each approved Article 139 claim involving a claimant who could also file under an applicable SOFA.

(e) National Guard Claims Act claims. (1) Claims attributed to the acts or omissions of ARNG personnel in the course of employment fall into the categories set forth in subpart F of this part.

(2) An ACO will establish with a state claims office routine procedures for the disposition of claims, designed to ensure that the United States and state authorities do not issue conflicting instructions for processing claims. The procedures will require personnel to advise the claimant of any remedy against the state or its insurer.

(i) Where the claim arises out of the act or omission of a member of the ARNG or a person employed under 32 U.S.C. 709, it must be determined whether the employee is acting on behalf of the state or the United States. For example, an ARNG pilot employed under section 709 may be flying on a state mission, federal mission, or both, on the same trip. This determination will control the disposition of the claim. If agreement with the concerned state cannot be reached and the claim is otherwise payable, efforts may be made to enter into a sharing agreement with the state concerned. The following procedures are required in the event there is a remedy against the state and the state refuses to pay or the state maintains insurance coverage and the claimant has filed an administrative claim against the United States. First, forward the file and the tort claim memorandum, including information on the status of any judicial or administrative action the claimant has taken against the state or its insurer to the Commander USARCS. Upon receipt, the Commander USARCS will determine whether to require the claimant to exhaust his or her remedy against the state or its insurer or whether the claim against the United States can be settled without requiring such exhaustion. If the Commander USARCS decides to follow the latter course of action, he or she will also determine whether to obtain an assignment of the claim against the state or its insurer and whether to initiate recovery action to obtain contribution or indemnification. The state or its insurer will be given appropriate notification in accordance with state law.

(ii) If an administrative claim remedy exists under state law or the state maintains liability insurance, the Commander USARCS or an ACO acting upon the Commander USARCS' approval may enter into a sharing agreement covering payment of future claims. The purpose of such an agreement is to determine in advance whether the state or the DA is responsible for processing a claim (did the claim arise from a federal or state mission?), to expedite payment in meritorious claims, and to preclude double recovery by a claimant.

(f) Third-party claims involving an independent contractor—(1) Generally. (i) Upon receipt, all claims will be examined to determine whether a contractor of the United States is the tortfeasor. If so, the claimant or legal representative will be notified of the name and address of the contractor and further advised that the United States is not responsible for the acts or omissions of an independent contractor. This will be done prior to any determination as to the contractor's degree of culpability as compared to that of the United States.

(ii) If, upon investigation, the damage is considered to be primarily due to the contractor's fault or negligence, the claim will be referred to the contractor or the contractor's insurance carrier for settlement and the claimant will be so advised.

(iii) Health care providers hired under personal services contracts under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. 1089 are not considered to be independent contractors but employees of the United States for tort claims purposes.

(2) Claims for injury or death of contractor employees. Upon receipt of a claim for injury or death of a contractor employee, a copy of the portions of the contract applicable to claims and workers' compensation will be obtained, either through the contracting office or from the contractor. Claims personnel must find out the status of any claim for workers' compensation benefits as well as whether the United States paid the premiums. The goal is to involve the contractor in any settlement, where indicated, in the manner set forth in DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-15f and 2-61. In claims arising in foreign countries consider whether the claim is covered by the Defense Bases Act, 42 U.S.C. 1651-1654.

(g) Claims by contractors for damage to or loss of their property during the performance of their contracts. Claims by contractors for property damage or loss should be referred to the contracting officer for determination as to whether the claim is payable under the contract. Such a claim is not payable under the FTCA where the damage results from an in-scope act or omission. Contract appeal procedures must be exhausted prior to consideration as a bailment under the MCA or FCA.

(h) Maritime claims. Maritime torts are excluded from consideration under the FTCA. The various maritime statutes are exclusive remedies within the United States and its territorial waters. Maritime statutes include the Army Maritime Claims Settlement Act (AMCSA), 10 U.S.C. 4801, 4802 and 4806, the Suits in Admiralty Act (SIAA), 46 U.S.C. app. 781-790, the Public Vessels Act (PVA), 46 U.S.C. app. 781-790, and the Admiralty Extension Act (AEA), 46 U.S.C. app. 740. Within the U.S. and its territorial waters, maritime suits may be filed under the SIAA or the PVA without first filing an administrative claim, except where administrative filing is required by the AEA. Administrative claims may also be filed under the AMSCA. In any administrative claim brought under the AMCSA, all action must be completed not later than two years from its accrual date or the SOL will expire. Outside the United States, a maritime tort may be brought under the MCA or FCA as well as the AMCSA. The body of water on which it occurs must be navigable and a maritime nexus must exist. Once a maritime claim is identified, give the claimant written notice of the two-year filing requirement. In case of doubt, the ACO or CPO should discuss the matter with the appropriate AAO. Even when the claimant does not believe that a maritime claim is involved, provide the claimant with precautionary notice. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-7e and 8-6.

(i) Postal claims. See also DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-15i, 2-30 and 2-56g discussing postal claims.

(1) Claims by the U.S. Postal Service for funds and stock are adjudicated by USARCS with assistance from the Military Postal Service Agency and the ACO or CPO having jurisdiction over the particular Army post office, when directed by USARCS to assist in the investigation of the claim.

(2) Claims for loss of registered and insured mail are processed under subpart C of this part by the ACO or CPO having jurisdiction over the particular Army post office.

(3) Claims for loss of, or damage to, parcels delivered by United Parcel Service (UPS) are the responsibility of UPS.

(j) Blast damage claims. After completing an investigation and prior to final action, all blast damage claims resulting from Army firing and demolition activities must be forwarded to the Commander USARCS for technical review. The sole exception to this rule is when a similar claim is filed citing the same time, place and type of damage as one which has already received technical review. See also DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-28.

(k) Motor vehicle damage claims arising from the use of non-governmental vehicles. See also §536.60 (splitting property damage and personal injury claims) and DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-15k (determining the correct statute), 2-61 (joint tort feasors), and 2-62e (indemnity or contribution).

(1) Government tortfeasors. A Soldier or U.S. government civilian employee who negligently damages his or her personal property while acting within the scope of employment is not a proper claimant for damage to that property.

(2) Claims by lessors for damage to rental vehicles. Third-party claims arising from the use of rental vehicles will be processed in the same manner as NAFI commercially insured activities after exhaustion of any other remedy under the Government Travel Card Program or the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Car Rental Agreement.

(3) Third-party damages arising from the use of privately owned vehicles. Third-party tort claims arising within the United States from a Soldier's use of a privately owned vehicle (POV) while allegedly within the scope of employment must be forwarded to the Commander USARCS for review and consultation before final action. The claim will be investigated and any authorization for use ascertained including payment for mileage. A copy of the Soldier's POV insurance policy will be obtained prior to forwarding. If the DA is an additional insurer under applicable state law, the claim will be forwarded to the Soldier's liability carrier for payment. When the tort claim arises in a foreign country, follow the provisions of subpart J of this part.

(l) Claims arising from gratuitous use of DOD or Army vehicles, equipment or facilities. (1) Before the commencement of any event that involves the use of DOD or Army land, vehicles, equipment or Army personnel for community activities, the Command involved should be advised to first determine and weigh the risk to potential third-party claimants against the benefits to the DOD or the Army. Where such risk is excessive, try to obtain an agreement from the sponsoring civilian organization holding the Army harmless. When feasible, third-party liability insurance may be required from the sponsor and the United States added to the policy as a third-party insured.

(2) When Army equipment and personnel are used for debris removal relief pursuant to the Federal Disaster Relief Act, 42 U.S.C. 5173, the state is required to assume responsibility for third-party claims. The senior judge advocate for a task force engaged in such relief should obtain an agreement requiring the state to hold the Army harmless and establish a procedure for payment by the state. Claims will be received, entered into the TSCA database, investigated and forwarded to state authorities for action.

(m) Real estate claims. Claims for rent, damage, or other payments involving the acquisition, use, possession or disposition of real property or interests therein, are generally payable under AR 405-15. These claims are handled by the Real Estate Claims Office in the appropriate COE District or a special office created for a deployment. Directorate of Real Estate, Office of the Chief of Engineers, has supervisory authority. Claims for damage to real property and incidental personal property, but not for rent (for example, claims arising during a maneuver or deployment) may be payable under subparts C or J of this part. However, priority should be given to the use of AR 405-15 as it is more flexible and expeditious. In contingency operations and deployments, there is a large potential for overlap between contractual property damage claims and noncombat activity/maneuver claims. Investigate carefully to ensure the claim is in the proper channel (claims or real estate), that it is fairly settled, and that the claimant does not receive a double payment. For additional guidance, see subpart J of this part and United States Army Claims Service Europe (USACSEUR) Real Estate/Office of the Judge Advocate Standard Operating Procedures for Processing Claims Involving Real Estate During Contingency Operations (August 20, 2002).

(n) Claims generated by civil works projects. Civil works projects claims arising from tortious activities are defined by whether the negligent or wrongful act or omission arising from a project or activity is funded by a civil works appropriation. Civil works claims are those noncontractual claims which arise from a negligent or wrongful act or omission during the performance of a project or activity funded by civil works appropriations as distinguished from a project or activity funded by Army operation and maintenance funds. Civil works claims are paid out of civil works appropriations to the extent set forth in §536.71(f). A civil works claim can also arise out of a noncombat activity, for example, an inverse condemnation claim in which flooding exceeds the high water mark. Maritime claims under subpart H of this part are civil works claims when they arise out of the operation of a dam, locks or navigational aid.

Note to §536.34: See parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-1.

§536.35   Unique issues related to environmental claims.

Claims for property damage, personal injury, or death arising in the United States based on contamination by toxic substances found in the air or the ground must be reported by USARCS to the Environmental Law Division of the Army Litigation Center and the Environmental Torts Branch of DOJ. Such claims arising overseas must be reported to the Command Claims Service with geographical jurisdiction over the claim and USARCS. Claims for personal injury from contamination frequently arise at an area that is the subject of claims for cleanup of the contamination site. The cleanup claims involve other Army agencies, use of separate funds, and prolonged investigation. Administrative settlement is not usually feasible because settlement of property damage claims must cover all damages, including personal injury. Payment by Defense Environmental Rehabilitation Funds should be considered initially and any such payment should be deducted from any settlement under AR 27-20.

§536.36   Related remedies.

An ACO or a CPO routinely receives claims or inquiries about claims that clearly are not cognizable under this part. It is the DA's policy that every effort be made to discover another remedy and inform the inquirer as to its nature. Claims personnel will familiarize themselves with the remedies set forth in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-17, to carry out this policy. If no appropriate remedy can be discovered, forward the file to the Commander USARCS, with recommendations.

§536.37   Importance of the claims investigation.

Prompt and thorough investigation will be conducted on all potential and actual claims for and against the government. Evidence developed during an investigation provides the basis for every subsequent step in the administrative settlement of a claim or in the pursuit of a lawsuit. Claims personnel must gather and record adverse as well as favorable information. The CJA, claims attorney or unit claims officer must preserve their legal and factual findings.

§536.38   Elements of the investigation.

(a) The investigation is conducted to ascertain the facts of an incident. Which facts are relevant often depends on the law and regulations applicable to the conduct of the parties involved but generally the investigation should develop definitive answers to such questions as “When?” “Where?” “Who?” “What?” and “How?”. Typically, the time, place, persons, and circumstances involved in an incident may be established by a simple report, but its cause and the resulting damage may require extensive effort to obtain all the pertinent facts.

(b) The object of the investigation is to gather, with the least possible delay, the best available evidence without accumulating excessive evidence concerning any particular fact. The claimant is often an excellent source of such information and should be contacted early in the investigation, particularly when there is a question as to whether the claim was timely filed.

§536.39   Use of experts, consultants and appraisers.

(a) ACOs or CPOs will budget operation and maintenance (O&M) funds for the costs of hiring property appraisers, accident reconstructionists, expert consultants to furnish opinions, and medical specialists to conduct independent medical examinations (IMEs). Other expenses to be provided for from O&M funds include the purchase of documents, such as medical records, and the hiring of mediators. See §536.53(b). Where the cost exceeds $750 or local funds are exhausted, a request for funding should be directed to the Commander USARCS, with appropriate justification. The USARCS AAO must be notified as soon as possible when an accident reconstruction is indicated.

(b) Where the claim arises from treatment at an Army MTF, the MEDDAC commander should be requested to fund the cost of an independent consultant's opinion or an IME.

(c) The use of outside consultants and appraisers should be limited to claims in which liability or damages cannot be determined otherwise and in which the use of such sources is economically feasible, for instance, where property damage is high in amount and not determinable by a government appraiser or where the extent of personal injury is serious and a government IME is neither available nor acceptable to a claimant. Prior to such an examination at an MTF, ensure that the necessary specialists are available and a prompt written report may be obtained.

(d) Either an IME or an expert opinion is procured by means of a personal services contract under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), part 37, 48 CFR 37.000 et seq., through the local contracting office. The contract must be in effect prior to commencement of the records review. Payment is authorized only upon receipt of a written report responsive to the questions asked by the CJA or claims attorney.

(e) Whenever a source other than claims personnel is used to assist in the evaluation of a claim in which medical information protected by HIPAA is involved, the source must sign an agreement designed to protect the patient's privacy rights.

§536.40   Conducting the investigation.

(a) The methods and techniques for investigating specific categories of claims are set forth in DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-25 through 2-34. The investigation of medical malpractice claims should be conducted by a CJA or claims attorney, using a medical claims investigator.

(b) A properly filed claim must contain enough information to permit investigation. For example, if the claim does not specify the date, location or details of every incident complained of, the claimant or legal representative should be required to furnish the information.

(c) Request the claimant or legal representative to specify a theory of liability. However, the investigation should not be limited to the theories specified, particularly where the claimant is unrepresented. All logical theories should be investigated.

§536.41   Determination of liability—generally.

(a) Under the FTCA, the United States is liable in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission giving rise to the tort occurred (28 U.S.C. 2673 and 2674). This means that liability must rest on the existence of a tort cognizable under state law, hereinafter referred to as a state tort. A finding of state tort liability requires the litigating attorney to prove the elements of duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages as interpreted by federal case law.

(b) The foregoing principles and requirements will be followed in regard to tort claims against the United States under other subparts, with certain exceptions noted within the individual subparts or particular tort statutes.

(c) Interpretation will be made in accordance with FTCA case law and also maritime case law where applicable. Additionally, a noncombat activity can furnish the basis for a claim under subparts C, F, and J of this part. Noncombat activities include claims arising out of civil works, such as inverse condemnation.

(d) Federal, not state or local, law applies to a determination as to who is a federal employee or a member of the armed forces. Under all subparts, the designation “federal employee” excludes a contractor of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. 2671. See however, §536.23(b)(4)(ii) concerning personal services contractors. For employment identification purposes apply FTCA case law in making a determination.

(e) Federal, not state or local, law applies to an interpretation of the SOL under all subparts. Minority or incompetence does not toll the SOL. Case law developed under the FTCA will be used in other subparts in interpreting SOL questions.

(f) Under the FTCA state or local law is used to determine scope of employment and under other subparts for guidance.

§536.42   Constitutional torts.

A claim for violation of the U.S. Constitution does not constitute a state tort and is not cognizable under any subpart. A constitutional claim will be scrutinized in order to determine whether it is totally or partially payable as a state tort. For example, a Fifth Amendment taking may be payable in an altered form as a real estate claim. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-36.

§536.43   Incident to service.

(a) A member of the armed forces' claim for personal injury or wrongful death arising incident to service is not payable under any subpart except to the extent permitted by the receiving State under §§536.114 through 536.116 (Claims arising overseas); however, a claim by a member of the United States Armed Forces for property loss or damage may be payable under AR 27-20, chapter 11 or, if not, under subparts C, E, F, or G of this part. Derivative claims and claims for indemnity are also excluded.

(b) Claims for personal injury or wrongful death by members of a foreign military force participating in a joint military exercise or operation arising incident to service are not payable under any subpart. Claims for property loss or damage, but not subrogated claims, may be payable under subpart C of this part. Derivative claims and claims for indemnity or contribution are not payable under any subpart.

Note to §536.43: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-37.

§536.44   FECA and LSHWCA claims exclusions.

A federal or NAFI employee's personal injury or wrongful death claim payable under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA) or the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (LSHWCA) is not payable under any subpart. Derivative claims are also excluded but a claim for indemnity may be payable under certain circumstances. A federal or NAFI employee's claim for an incident-to-service property loss or damage may be payable under AR 27-20, chapter 11 or, if not, under subparts C, D, F, G, H or J of this part. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-38.

§536.45   Statutory exceptions.

This topic is more fully discussed in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-39. The exclusions listed below are found at 28 U.S.C. 2680 and apply to subparts C, D, F, and H and §§536.107 through 536.113 (Claims arising in the United States) of subpart G, except as noted therein, and not to subparts E, J or §§536.107 through 536.113 (Claims arising overseas) of subpart G of this part. A claim is not payable if it:

(a) Is based upon an act or omission of an employee of the U.S. government, exercising due care, in the execution of a statute or regulation, whether or not such statute or regulation is valid. This exclusion does not apply to a noncombat activity claim.

(b) Is based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a federal agency or an employee of the government, whether or not the discretion is abused. This exclusion does not apply to a noncombat activity claim.

(c) Arises out of the loss, miscarriage, or negligent transmission of letters or postal matters. This exclusion is not applicable to registered or certified mail claims under subpart C of this part. See §536.34(i).

(d) Arises in respect of the assessment or collection of any tax or customs duty, or the detention of any goods or merchandise by any customs or other law enforcement officer. See 28 U.S.C. 2680(c).

(e) Is cognizable under the SIAA (46 U.S.C. app. 741-752), the PVA (46 U.S.C. app. 781-790), or the AEA (46 U.S.C. app. 740). This exclusion does not apply to subparts C, F, H or J of this part.

(f) Arises out of an act or omission of any federal employee in administering the provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act, 50 U.S.C. app. 1-44.

(g) Is for damage caused by the imposition or establishment of a quarantine by the United States.

(h) Arises out of assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, libel, slander, misrepresentation, deceit, or interference with contract rights, except for acts or omissions of investigation of law enforcement officers of the U.S. government with regard to assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, abuse of process or malicious prosecution. This exclusion also does not apply to a health care provider as defined in 10 U.S.C. 1089 and §536.80 of this part, under the conditions listed therein.

(i) Arises from the fiscal operations of the U.S. Department of the Treasury or from the regulation of the monetary system.

(j) Arises out of the combatant activities of U.S. military or naval forces, or the Coast Guard during time of war.

(k) Arises in a foreign country. This exclusion does not apply to subparts C, E, F, H, J or §§536.114 through 536.116 (Claims arising overseas) of subpart G of this part.

(l) Arises from the activities of the Tennessee Valley Authority, 28 U.S.C. 2680(l).

(m) Arises from the activities of the Panama Canal Commission, 28 U.S.C. 2680(m).

(n) Arises from the activities of a federal land bank, a federal intermediate credit bank, or a bank for cooperatives, 28 U.S.C. 2680(n).

Note to §536.45: This topic is more fully discussed in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-39.

§536.46   Other exclusions.

(a) Statutory employer. A claim is not payable under any subpart if it is for personal injury or death of any contract employee for whom benefits are provided under any workers' compensation law, if the provisions of the workers' compensation insurance are retrospective and charge an allowable expense to a cost-type contract, or if precluded by state law. See Federal Tort Claims Handbook (FTCH), section II, D7 (posted on the Web at https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/laawsxxi/cds.nsf. Select the link “Claims” under “JAG Publications.”) The statutory employer exclusion also applies to claims that may be covered by the Defense Bases Act, 42 U.S.C. 1651-1654.

(b) Flood exclusion. Within the United States a claim is not payable if it arises from damage caused by flood or flood waters associated with the construction or operation of a COE flood control project, 33 U.S.C. 702(c). See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-40.

(c) ARNG property. A claim is not payable under any subpart if it is for damage to, or loss of, property of a state, commonwealth, territory, or the District of Columbia caused by ARNG personnel, engaged in training or duty under 32 U.S.C. 316, 502, 503, 504, or 505, who are assigned to a unit maintained by that state, commonwealth, territory, or the District of Columbia. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-41.

(d) Federal Disaster Relief Act. Within the United States a claim is not payable if it is for damage to, or loss of, property or for personal injury or death arising out of debris removal by a federal agency or employee in carrying out the provisions of the Federal Disaster Relief Act, 42 U.S.C. 5173. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-42.

(e) Non-justiciability doctrine. A claim is not payable under any subpart if it arises from activities that present a non-justiciable political question. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-43.

(f) National Vaccine Act. (42 U.S.C. 300aa-1 through 300aa-7). A claim is not payable under any subpart if it arises from the administration of a vaccine unless the conditions listed in the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (42 U.S.C. 300aa-9 through 300aa-19) have been met. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-17c(6)(a).

(g) Defense Mapping Agency. A claim is not payable under any subpart if it arises from inaccurate charting by the Defense Mapping Agency, 10 U.S.C. 456. See FTCH section II, B4s (Web address at paragraph (a) of this section).

(h) Quiet Title Act. Within the U.S., a claim is not payable if it falls under the Quiet Title Act 28 U.S.C. 2409a.

(i) Defense Bases Act. A claim arising outside the United States is not payable if it is covered by the Defense Bases Act, 42 U.S.C. 1651-1654.

Note to §536.46: See parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-40 through 2-43.

§536.47   Statute of limitations.

To be payable, a claim against the United States under any subpart, except §§536.114 through 536.116 (Claims arising overseas), must be filed no later than two years from the date of accrual as determined by federal law. The accrual date is the date on which the claimant is aware of the injury and its cause. The claimant is not required to know of the negligent or wrongful nature of the act or omission giving rise to the claim. The date of filing is the date of receipt by the appropriate federal agency, not the date of mailing. See also §536.26(a) and parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-44.

§536.48   Federal employee requirement.

To be payable, a claim under any subpart except subpart K of this part, §§536.153 through 536.157 (Claims involving tortfeasors other than nonappropriated fund employees), must be based on the acts or omissions of a member of the armed forces, a member of a foreign military force within the United States with which the United States has a reciprocal claims agreement, or a federal civilian employee. This does not include a contractor of the United States. Apply federal case law for interpretation. See parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-46.

§536.49   Scope of employment requirement.

To be payable, a claim must be based on acts or omissions of a member of the armed forces, a member of a foreign military force within the United States with which the United States has a reciprocal claims agreement, or a federal employee acting within the scope of employment, except for subparts E, J, or subpart K of this part, §§536.153 through 536.157 (Claims involving tortfeasors other than nonappropriated fund employees). A claim arising from noncombat activities must be based on the armed service's official activities. Excluded are claims based on vicarious liability or the holder theory in which the owner of the vehicle is responsible for any injury or damage regardless of who the operator was. See parallel discussion at DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-46.

§536.50   Determination of damages—applicable law.

(a) The Federal Tort Claims Act. The whole law of the place where the incident giving rise to the claim occurred, including choice of law rules, is applicable. Therefore, the law of the place of injury or death does not necessarily apply. Where there is a conflict between local law and an express provision of the FTCA, the latter governs.

(b) The Military Claims Act or National Guard Claims Act. See subparts C and F of this part. The law set forth in §536.80 applies only to claims accruing on or after September 1, 1995. The law of the place of the incident giving rise to the claim will apply to claims arising in the United States, its commonwealths, territories and possessions prior to September 1, 1995. The general principles of U.S. tort law will apply to property damage or loss claims arising outside the United States prior to September 1, 1995. Established principles of general maritime law will apply to injury or death claims arising outside the United States prior to September 1, 1995. See Moragne v. States Marine Lines, Inc., 398 U.S. 375 (1970) and federal case law. Where general maritime law provides no guidance, the general principles of U.S. tort law will apply.

(c) The Foreign Claims Act. See subpart J of this part. The law of the place of occurrence applies to the resolution of claims. However, the law of damages set forth in §536.139 will serve as a guide.

(d) The Army Maritime Claims Settlement Act. Maritime law applies.

(e) Damages not payable. Under all subparts, property loss or damage refers to actual tangible property. Accordingly, consequential damages, including, but not limited to bail, interest (prejudgment or otherwise), or court costs are not payable. Costs of preparing, filing, and pursuing a claim, including expert witness fees, are not payable. The payment of punitive damages, that is, damages in addition to general and special damages that are otherwise payable, is prohibited. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-56 and 3-4b.

(f) Source of attorney's fees. Attorney's fees are taken from the settlement amount and not added thereto. They may not exceed 20 percent of the settlement amount under any subpart.

Note to §536.50: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-51.

§536.51   Collateral source rule.

Where permitted by applicable state or maritime law, damages recovered from collateral sources are payable under subparts D and H, but not under subparts C, E, F, or J of this part. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-57.

§536.52   Subrogation.

Subrogation is the substitution of one person in place of another with regard to a claim, demand or right. It should not be confused with a lien, which is an obligation of the claimant. Applicable state law should be researched to determine the distinction between subrogation and a lien. Subrogation claims are payable under subparts D and H, but not under subparts C, E, F or J of this part. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-58.

§536.53   Evaluation of claims—general rules and guidelines.

(a) Before claims personnel evaluate a claim:

(1) A claimant or claimant's legal representative will be furnished the opportunity to substantiate the claim by providing essential documentary evidence according to the claim's nature including, but not instead of, the following: Medical records and reports, witness statements, itemized bills and paid receipts, estimates, federal tax returns, W-2 forms or similar proof of loss of earnings, photographs, and reports of appraisals or investigation. If necessary, request permission, through the legal representative, to interview the claimant, the claimant's family, proposed witnesses and treating health care providers (HCPs). In a professional negligence claim, the claimant will submit an expert opinion when requested. State law concerning the requirement for an affidavit of merit should be cited.

(2) When the claimant or the legal representative fails to respond in a timely manner to informal demands for documentary evidence, interviews, or an independent medical examination (IME), make a written request. Such written request provides notice to the claimant that failure to provide substantiating evidence will result in an evaluation of the claim based only on information currently in the file. When, despite the government's request, there is insufficient information in the file to permit evaluation, the claim will be denied for failure to document it. Failure to submit to an IME or sign an authorization to use medical information protected by HIPAA, for review or evaluation by a source other than claims personnel, are both grounds for denial for failure to document, provided such evaluation is essential to the determination of liability or damages. State a time limit, for example, 30 or 60 days, to furnish the substantiation or expert opinion required in a medical malpractice claim.

(3) If, in exchange for complying with the government's request for the foregoing information, the claimant or the legal representative requests similar information from the file, the claimant may be provided such information and documentation as is releasable under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP). Additionally, work product may be released if such release will help settle the claim. See §536.18.

(b) An evaluation should be viewed from the claimant's perspective. In other words, before denying a claim, first determine whether there is any reasonable basis for compromise. Certain jurisdictional issues and statutory bases may not be open for compromise. The incident to service and FECA exclusions are rarely subject to compromise, whereas the SOL is more subject to compromise. Factual and legal disputes are compromisable, frequently providing a basis for limiting damages, not necessarily grounds for denial. Where a precise issue of dispute is identified and is otherwise unresolvable, mediation by a disinterested qualified person, such as a federal judge, or foreign equivalent for claims arising under the FCA, should be obtained upon agreement with the claimant or the claimant's legal representative. Contributory negligence has given way to comparative negligence in most United States jurisdictions. In most foreign countries, comparative negligence is the rule of law.

Note to §536.53: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-59.

§536.54   Joint tortfeasors.

When joint tortfeasors are liable, it is DA policy to pay only the fair share of a claim attributable to the fault of the United States rather than pay the claim in full and then bring suit against the joint tortfeasor for contribution. If payment from a joint tortfeasor is not forthcoming after the CJA's demand, the United States should settle for its fair share, provided the claimant is willing to hold the United States harmless. Where a joint tortfeasor's liability greatly outweighs that of the United States, the claim should be referred to the joint tortfeasor for action.

§536.55   Structured settlements.

(a) The use of future periodic payments, including reversionary medical trusts, is encouraged to ensure that the injured party is adequately compensated and able to meet future needs.

(1) It is necessary to ensure adequate care and compensation for a minor or other incompetent claimant or unemployed survivor over a period of years.

(2) A medical trust is necessary to ensure the long-term availability of funds for anticipated future medical care, the cost of which is difficult to predict.

(3) The injured party's life expectancy cannot be reasonably determined or is likely to be shortened.

(b) Under subpart D of this part, structured settlements cannot be required but are encouraged in situations listed above or where state law permits them. In the case of a minor, every effort should be made to insure that the minor, and not the parents, receives the benefit of the settlement. Annuity payments at the age of majority should be considered. If rejected, a blocked bank account may be used.

(c) It is the policy of the Department of Justice never to discuss the tax-free nature of a structured settlement.

Note to §536.55: For further discussion, see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-63.

§536.56   Negotiations—purpose and extent.

It is DA policy to settle meritorious claims promptly and fairly through direct negotiation at the lowest possible level. The Army's negotiator should not admit liability as such is not necessary. However, the settlement should reflect diminished value where contributory negligence or other value-diminishing factors exist. The negotiator should be thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the case, including the claimant's background, the key witnesses, the anticipated testimony and the appearance of the scene. There is no substitute for the claims negotiator's personal study of, and participation in, the case before settlement negotiations begin. If settlement is not possible due to the divergence in the offers, refine the issues as much as possible in order to expedite any subsequent suit. Mediation should be used if the divergence is due to an issue of law affecting either liability or damages. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-64.

§536.57   Who should negotiate.

An AAO or, when delegated additional authority, an ACO or a CPO, has authority to settle claims in an amount exceeding the monetary authority delegated by regulation. It is DA policy to delegate USARCS authority, on a case-by-case basis, to an ACO or a CPO possessing the appropriate ability and experience. Only an attorney should negotiate with a claimant's attorney. Negotiations with unrepresented claimants may be conducted by a non-attorney, under the supervision of an attorney. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-65.

§536.58   Settlement negotiations with unrepresented claimants.

All aspects of the applicable law and procedure, except the amount to be claimed, should be explained to both potential and actual claimants. The negotiator will ensure that the claimant is aware of whether the negotiator is an attorney or a non-attorney, and that the negotiator represents the United States. As to claims within USARCS' monetary authority, the chronology and details of negotiations should be memorialized with a written record furnished to the claimant. The claimant should understand that it is not necessary to hire an attorney, but when an attorney is needed, the negotiator should recommend hiring one. In a claim where liability is not an issue, the claimant should be informed that if an attorney is retained, the claimant should attempt to negotiate an hourly fee for determination of damages only. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-68.

§536.59   Settlement or approval authority.

“Settlement authority” is a statutory term (10 U.S.C. 2735) meaning that officer authorized to approve, deny or compromise a claim, or make final action. “Approval authority” means the officer empowered to settle, pay or compromise a claim in full or in part, provided the claimant agrees. “Final action authority” means the officer empowered to deny or make a final offer on a claim. Determining the proper officer empowered to approve or make final action on a claim depends on the claims statute involved and any limitations that apply under that statute. DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-69, outlines how various authority is delegated among offices.

§536.60   Splitting property damage and personal injury claims.

Normally, a claim will include all damages that accrue by reason of the incident. Where a claimant has a claim for property damage and personal injury arising from the same incident, the property damage claim may be paid, under certain circumstances, prior to the filing of the personal injury claim. The personal injury claim may be filed later provided it is filed within the applicable statute of limitations. When both property damage and personal injury arise from the same incident, the property damage claim may be paid to either the claimant or, under subparts D or H of this part, the insurer and the same claimant may receive a subsequent payment for personal injury. Only under subparts D or H of this part may the insurer receive subsequent payment for subrogated medical bills and lost earnings when the personal injury claim is settled. The primary purpose of settling an injured claimant's property damage claim before settling the personal injury claim is to pay the claimant for vehicle damage expeditiously and avoid costs associated with delay such as loss of use, loss of business, or storage charges. The Commander USARCS' approval must be obtained whenever the estimated value of any one claim exceeds $25,000, or the value of all claims, actual or potential, arising from the incident exceeds $50,000; however, if the claim arises under the FTCA or AMCSA, only if the amount claimed exceeds $50,000, or $100,000 per incident.

§536.61   Advance payments.

(a) This section implements 10 U.S.C. 2736 (Act of September 8, 1961 (75 Stat. 488)) as amended by Public Law 90-521 (82 Stat. 874); Public Law 98-564 (90 Stat. 2919); and Public Law 100-465 (102 Stat. 2005)). No new liability is created by 10 U.S.C. 2736, which merely permits partial advance payments, only under subparts C, F or J of this part, on claims not yet filed. See AR 27-20, paragraph 11-18 for information on emergency partial payments in personnel claims, which are not governed by 10 U.S.C. 2736.

(b) The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) and the Assistant Judge Advocate General (TAJAG) may make advance payments in amounts not exceeding $100,000; the Commander USARCS, in amounts not exceeding $25,000, and the authorities designated in §§536.786(4) and (5) and 536.101, in amounts not exceeding $10,000, subject to advance coordination with USARCS, if the estimated total value of the claim exceeds their monetary authority. Requests for advance payments in excess of $10,000 will be forwarded to USARCS for processing.

(c) Under subpart J of this part, three-member foreign claims commissions may make advance payments under the FCA in amounts not exceeding $10,000, subject to advance coordination with USARCS if the estimated total value of the claim exceeds their monetary authority.

(d) An advance payment, not exceeding $100,000, is authorized in the limited category of claims or potential claims considered meritorious under subparts C, F or J of this part, that result in immediate hardship. An advance payment is authorized only under the following circumstances:

(1) The claim, or potential claim, must be determined to be cognizable and meritorious under the provisions of subparts C, F or J of this part.

(2) An immediate need for food, clothing, shelter, medical or burial expenses, or other necessities exists.

(3) The payee, so far as can be determined, would be a proper claimant, including an incapacitated claimant's spouse or next-of-kin.

(4) The total damage sustained must exceed the amount of the advance payment.

(5) A properly executed advance payment acceptance agreement has been obtained. This acceptance agreement must state that it does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States and that the amount paid shall be deducted from any subsequent award.

(e) There is no statutory authority for making advance payments for claims payable under subparts D or H of this part.

Note to §536.61: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-71.

§536.62   Action memorandums.

(a) When required. (1) All claims will be acted on prior to being closed except for those that are transferred. For claims on which suit is filed before final action, see §536.66. A settlement authority may deny or pay in full or in part any claim in a stated amount within his or her delegated authority. An approval authority may pay in full or in part, but may not deny, a claim in a stated amount within his or her delegated authority. If any one claim arising out of the same incident exceeds a settlement or approval authority's monetary jurisdiction, all claims from that incident will be forwarded to the authority having jurisdiction.

(2) In any claim which must be supported by an expert opinion as to duty, negligence, causation or damages, an expert opinion must be submitted upon request. All opinions must meet the standards set forth in Federal Rule of Evidence 702.

(3) An action memorandum is required for all final actions regardless of whether payment is made electronically. The memorandum will contain a sufficient rendition of the facts, law or damages to justify the action being taken. (A model action is posted on the USARCS Web site; for the address see §536.2(a).)

(b) Memorandum of Opinion. Upon completion of the investigation, the ACO or CPO will prepare a memorandum of opinion in the format prescribed at DA Pam 27-162, when a claim is forwarded to USARCS for action. This requirement can be waived by the USARCS AAO.

(c) Claim brought by a claims authority or superior. A claim filed by an approval or settlement authority or his or her superior officer in the chain of command or a family member of either will be investigated and forwarded for final action, without recommendation, to the next higher settlement authority (in an overseas area, this includes a command claims service) or to USARCS.

Note to §536.62: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-72.

§536.63   Settlement agreements.

(a) When required. (1) A claimant's acceptance of an award constitutes full and final settlement and release of any and all claims against the United States and its employees, except as to payments made under §§536.60 and 536.61. A settlement agreement is required prior to payment on all tort claims, whether the claim is paid in full or in part.

(2) DA Form 1666 (Claims Settlement Agreement) may be used for payment of COE claims of $2,500 or less or all Army Central Insurance Fund and Army and Air Force Exchange Service claims.

(3) DA Form 7500 (Tort Claim Payment Report) will be used for all payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), for example, FTCA claims of $2,500 or less, FCA and MCA claims of $100,000 or less and all maritime claims regardless of amount.

(4) Financial Management Service (FMS) Forms 194, 196 and 197 will be used for all payments from the Judgment Fund, for example, FTCA claims exceeding $2,500, MCA and FCA claims exceeding $100,000.

(5) An alternative settlement agreement will be used when the claimant is represented by an attorney, or when any of the above settlement agreement forms are legally insufficient (such as when multiple interests are present, a hold harmless agreement is reached, or there is a structured settlement). For further discussion, see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-73c.

(b) Unconditional settlement. The settlement agreement must be unconditional. The settlement agreement represents a meeting of the minds. Any changes to the agreement must be agreed upon by all parties. The return of a proffered settlement agreement with changes written thereon or on an accompanying document represents, in effect, a counteroffer and must be resolved. Even if the claimant signs the agreement and objects to its terms, either in writing or verbally, the settlement is defective and the objection must be resolved. Otherwise a final offer should be made.

(c) Court approval—(1) When required. Court approval is required in a wrongful death claim, or where the claimant is a minor or incompetent. The claimant is responsible to obtain court approval in a jurisdiction that is locus of the act or omission giving rise to the claim or in which the claimant resides. The court must be a state or local court, including a probate court. If the claimant can show that court approval is not required under the law of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred or where the claimant resides, the citation of the statute will be provided and accompany the payment documents.

(2) Attorney representation. If the claimant is a minor or incompetent, the claimant must be represented by a lawyer. If not already represented, the claimant should be informed that the requirement is mandatory unless state or local law expressly authorizes the parents or a person in loco parentis to settle the claim.

(3) Costs. The cost of obtaining court approval will be factored into the amount of the settlement; however, the amount of the costs and other costs will not be written into the settlement, only the 20% limitation on attorney fees will be included.

(4) Claims involving an estate or personal representative of an estate. On claims presented on behalf of a decedent's estate, the law of the state having jurisdiction should be reviewed to determine who may bring a claim on behalf of the estate, if court appointment of an estate representative is required, and if court approval of the settlement is required.

(d) Signature requirements. (1) Except as noted in paragraphs (d)(2) through (d)(6) of this section, all settlement agreements will be signed individually by each claimant. A limited power of attorney signed by the claimant specifically stating the amount being accepted and authorizing an attorney at law or in fact to sign is acceptable when the claimant is unavailable to sign. The signatures of the administrator or executor of the estate, appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction or authorized by local law, are required. The signatures of all adult beneficiaries, acknowledging the settlement, should be obtained unless permission is given by Commander USARCS. Court approval must be obtained where required by state law. If not required by state law, the citation of the state statute will accompany the payment document. Additionally, all adult heirs will sign as acknowledging the settlement. In lieu thereof, where the adult heirs are not available, the estate representative will acknowledge that all heirs have been informed of the settlement.

(2) Generally, only a court-appointed guardian of a minor's estate, or a person performing a similar function under court supervision, may execute a binding settlement agreement on a minor's claim. In the United States, the law of the state where the minor resides or is domiciled will determine the age of majority and the nature and type of court approval that is needed, if any. The age of majority is determined by the age at the time of settlement, not the date of filing.

(3) For claims arising in foreign countries where the amount agreed upon does not exceed $2,500, the requirement to obtain a guardian may be eliminated. For settlements over $2,500, whether or not the claim arose in the United States, refer to applicable local law, including the law of the foreign country where the minor resides.

(4) In claims where the claimant is an incompetent, and for whom a guardian has been appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction, the signature of the guardian must be obtained. In cases in which competence of the claimant appears doubtful, a written statement by the plaintiff's attorney and a member of the immediate family should be obtained.

(5) Settlement agreements involving subrogated claims must be executed by a person authorized by the corporation or company to act in its behalf and accompanied by a document signed by a person authorized by the corporation or company to delegate execution authority.

(6) If it is believed that the foregoing requirements are materially impeding settlement of the claim, bring the matter to the attention of the Commander USARCS for appropriate resolution.

(e) Attorneys' fees and costs. (1) Attorneys' fees for all subparts in this part 536 fall under the American Rule and are payable only out of the up front cash in any settlement. Attorneys' fees will be stated separately in the settlement agreement as a sum not to exceed 20% of the award.

(2) Costs are a matter to be determined solely between the attorney and the claimant and will not be set forth or otherwise enumerated in the settlement agreement.

(f) Claims involving workers' compensation carriers. The settlement of a claim involving a claimant who has elected to receive workers' compensation benefits under local law may require the consent of the workers' compensation insurance carrier, and in certain jurisdictions, the state agency that has authority over workers' compensation awards. Accordingly, claims approval and settlement authorities should be aware of local requirements.

(g) Claims involving multiple interests. Where two or more parties have an interest in the claim, obtain signatures on the settlement agreement from all parties. Examples are where both the subrogee and subrogor file a single claim for property damage, where both landlord and tenant file a claim for damage to real property, or when a POV is leased, both the lessor or lessee.

(h) Claims involving structured settlements. All settlement agreements involving structured settlements will be prepared by the Tort Claims Division, USARCS, and approved by the Chief or Deputy Chief, Tort Claims Division.

§536.64   Final offers.

(a) When claims personnel believe that a claim should be compromised, and after every reasonable effort has been made to settle at less than the amount claimed, a settlement authority will make a written final offer within his or her monetary jurisdiction or forward the claim to the authority having sufficient monetary jurisdiction, recommending a final offer under the applicable statute. The final offer notice will contain sufficient detail to outline each element of damages as well as discuss contributory negligence, the SOL or other reasons justifying a compromise offer. The offer letter should include language indicating that if the offer is not accepted within a named time period, for example, 30 or 60 days the offer is withdrawn and the claim is denied.

(b) A final offer under subpart D of this part will notify the claimant of the right to sue, not later than six months from the notice's date of mailing, and of the right to request reconsideration. The procedures for processing a request for reconsideration are set forth in §536.89.

(c) Under subparts C or F of this part, the notice will contain an appeal paragraph. A similar procedure will be followed in subparts E and H of this part. Subpart J of this part sets forth its own procedures for FCA final offers. The procedures for processing an appeal are set forth in §536.79 of this part. The letter must inform claimants of the following:

(1) They must accept the offer within 60 days or appeal. The appeal should state a counteroffer.

(2) The identity of the official who will act on the appeal, and the requirement that the appeal will be addressed to the settlement authority who last acted on the claim.

(3) No form is prescribed for the appeal, but the notice of appeal must fully set forth the grounds for appeal or state that it is based on the record as it exists at the time of denial or final offer.

(4) The appeal must be postmarked not later than 60 days after the date of mailing of the final notice of action. If the last day of the appeal period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, as specified in Rule 6a of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the following day will be considered the final day of the appeal period.

(d) Where a claim for the same injury falls under both subparts C and D of this part (the MCA and the FTCA), and the denial or final offer applies equally to each such claim, the letter of notification must advise the claimant that any suit brought on any portion of the claim filed under the FTCA must be brought not later than six months from the date of mailing of the notice of final offer and any appeal under subpart C of this part must be made as stated in paragraph (c) of this section. Further, the claimant must be advised that if suit is brought, action on any appeal under subpart C of this part will be held in abeyance pending final determination of such suit.

(e) Upon request, the settlement authority may extend the six-month reconsideration or 60-day appeal period provided good cause is shown. The claimant will be notified as to whether the request is granted under the FTCA and that the request precludes the filing of suit under the FTCA for 6 months. Only one reconsideration is authorized. Accordingly, that claimant should be informed of the need to make all submissions timely.

Note to §536.64: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-74.

§536.65   Denial notice.

(a) Where there is no reasonable basis for compromise, a settlement authority will deny a claim within his or her monetary jurisdiction or forward the claim recommending denial to the settlement authority that has jurisdiction. The denial notice will contain instructions on the right to sue or request reconsideration. The notice will state the basis for denial. No admission of liability will be made. A notice to an unrepresented claimant should detail the basis for denial in lay language sufficient to permit an informed decision as to whether to request appeal or reconsideration. In the interest of deterring reconsideration, appeal or suit, a denial notice may be releasable under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or by the work product documents doctrine.

(b) Regardless of the claim's nature or the statute under which it may be considered, letters denying claims on jurisdictional grounds that are valid, certain, and not easily overcome (and for this reason no detailed investigation as to the merits of the claim was conducted), must state that denial on such grounds is not to be construed as an opinion on the merits of the claim or an admission of liability. In medical malpractice claims, the denial should state that the file is being referred to U.S. Army Medical Command for review. If sufficient factual information exists to make a tentative ruling on the merits of the claim, liability may be expressly denied.

Note to §536.65: See §536.53, on denying a claim for failure to substantiate. In addition, the procedures and rules in DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-69, settlement and approval authority, apply equally to the denial of claims. See also DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-75.

§536.66   The “Parker” denial.

(a) When suit is filed before final action is taken on a subpart D of this part claim, a denial letter will be issued only upon request of DOJ or the trial attorney. If suit is filed prematurely or in error, the claimant may be requested to withdraw the suit without prejudice. Such a request must be coordinated with the trial attorney.

(b) Claimants who have filed companion claims should be notified that, due to suit being filed, no action can be taken pending the outcome of suit and they may file suit if they wish.

Note to §536.66: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-76.

§536.67   Mailing procedures.

Thirty or sixty day letters seeking information from claimants, final offers and denial notices are time-sensitive as they require a claimant to take additional action within certain time limits. Accordingly, follow procedures to ensure that the date of mailing and receipt of a request for reconsideration are documented. Use certified mail with return receipt requested (or registered mail, if being sent to a foreign country other than by the military postal system) to mail such notices. Upon receipt, an appeal or request for reconsideration will be date-time stamped, logged in, and acknowledged as set forth in §536.68.

Note to §536.67: See also AR 27-20, paragraph 13-5, and DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-77.

§536.68   Appeal or reconsideration.

(a) An appeal or a request for reconsideration will be acknowledged in writing. A request for reconsideration under subpart D of this part invokes the six-month period during which suit cannot be filed, 28 CFR 14.9(b). The acknowledgment letter will underscore this restriction.

(b) Where the contents of the appeal or request for reconsideration indicate, additional investigation will be conducted and the original action changed if warranted. Except for subpart J of this part, which sets forth separate rules for FCCs, if the relief requested is not warranted the settlement authority will forward the claim to a higher settlement authority with a claims memorandum of opinion (see §536.62) stating the reasons why the request is invalid.

Note to §536.68: See also DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-78.

§536.69   Retention of file.

After final action has been taken, the settlement authority will retain the file until at least one month after either the period of filing suit or the appeal has expired and until all data has been entered into the database. A paid claim file will be retained until final action has been taken on all other claims arising out of the same incident. If any single claim arising out of the same incident must be forwarded to higher authority for final action, all claims files for that incident will be forwarded at the same time. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-79.

§536.70   Preparation and forwarding of payment vouchers.

(a) An unrepresented claimant will be listed as the sole payee. Joint claimants will not be listed since settlement agreements must specify the amount payable to each claimant individually and each must be issued a separate check.

(b) When a claimant is represented by an attorney, only one payment voucher will be issued with the claimant and the attorney as joint payees. The payment will be sent to the office of the claimant's attorney. The attorney of record, either an individual or firm designated by the claimant, will be the co-payee. If claimant has been represented by other attorneys in the same claim, such attorneys will not be listed as payees, even if they have a lien. Satisfaction of any such fee will be a matter between the claimant and such attorney. If payment is made by electronic transfer, the funds will be paid into the account of the claimant. However, if requested, the payment may be made into the attorney's escrow account provided the claimant has provided written authorization.

(c) In a structured settlement the structured settlement broker will be the sole payee, who is authorized to issue checks for the amounts set forth in the settlement agreement. The up-front cash payment may be deposited into an escrow account established for the benefit of the claimant.

(d) If a claimant is a minor or has been declared incompetent by a court or other authority authorized to do so, payment will be made to the court-appointed guardian of the minor or incompetent, at a financial institution approved by the court approving the settlement.

(e) If the claimant is representing a deceased's estate on a wrongful death claim, or a survival action on behalf of the deceased, the payment will be made to the court-appointed representative of the estate. No payment will be made directly to the estate.

Note to §536.70: See also §536.63 and DA Pam 27-162, paragraphs 2-73 and 2-81.

§536.71   Fund sources.

(a) 31 U.S.C. 1304 sets forth the type and limits of claims payable out of the Judgment Fund. Only final payments that are not payable out of agency funds are allowable, per the Treasury Financial Manual, Volume I, Part 6, Chapter 3110, at Section 3115, September 2000. Threshold amounts for payment from the judgment fund vary according to the subpart and statutes under which a claim is processed. To determine the threshold amount for any given payment procedure one must arrive at a sum of all awards for all claims arising out of that incident, including derivative claims. A joint amount is not acceptable. A claim for injury to a spouse or a child is a separate claim from one for loss of consortium or services by a spouse or parent. The monetary limits of $2,500 set forth in subpart D and $100,000 set forth in subparts C, F or J of this part, apply to each separate claim.

(b) A claim for $2,500 or less arising under subpart D or E, or under §§536.107 through 536.113 of subpart G, is paid from the open claims allotment (see AR 27-20 paragraph 13-6 b(1)) or, if arising from a project funded by a civil works appropriation, from COE civil works funds. The Department of the Treasury pays any settlement exceeding $2,500 in its entirety, from the Judgment Fund. However, if a subpart G of this part, §§536.107 through 536.113 claim is treated as a noncombat activity claim, payment is made as set forth in paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) The first $100,000 for each claimant on a claim settled under subparts C, F or J of this part is paid from the open claims allotment. Any amount over $100,000 is paid out of the Judgment Fund.

(d) If not over $500,000, a claim arising under subpart H of this part is paid from the open claims allotment or civil works project funds as appropriate. A claim exceeding $500,000 is paid entirely by a deficiency appropriation.

(e) AAFES or NAFI claims are paid from nonappropriated funds, except when such claims are subject to apportionment between appropriated and nonappropriated funds. See DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-80h.

(f) COE claims arising out of projects not funded out of civil works project funds are payable from the open claims allotment not to exceed $2,500 for subpart D claims and $100,000 for claims arising from subparts C, F or J of this part and from the Judgment Fund, over such amounts.

Note to §536.71: For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-80.

§536.72   Finality of settlement.

A claimant's acceptance of an award, except for an advance payment or a split payment for property damage only, constitutes a release of the United States and its employees from all liability. Where applicable, a release should include the ARNG or the sending State. For further discussion see DA Pam 27-162, paragraph 2-82.

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