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Office of the General Counsel

OPM Ref. # 1996-01104.3

Claimants' Attorney

Re: [xxx]

Dear Mr. [xxx]:

This replies to your March 27, 1997 letter appealing our decision dismissing your clientss claims for lack of jurisdiction.

The procedural history of these claims is described in detail in our January 22, 1997 letter and need not be repeated here. Essentially, you argue that the General Accounting Office (GAO), and then this office, committed a legal error by retroactively applying the GAOs decision in Cecil Riggs et al., 71 Comp. Gen. 374 (1992). Under the negotiated grievance procedure applicable to your clients, the time for filing a claim expired while their claims were pending at the GAO. Therefore, you assert that the retroactive application of the Riggs decision deprived your clients of a forum for their claims.

This is the same argument to which we responded in our January 22, 1997 letter, in which we noted that the GAO already had addressed this question in its decision, B-251784, Feb. 19, 1993. You have not asserted any legal error in that decision, except to disagree with it. Also, the GAO did not apply the Riggs decision retroactively. Rather, GAO applied that decision to all claims pending at the time it was issued. Finally, the GAO decision did not deprive your clients of their right to pursue their claims under the negotiated grievance process. The claims settlement authority provided by 31 U.S.C. 3702 always has been considered a permissive remedy, and thus does not toll the limitations period in any other fora. See, e.g., Shapira v. United States, 229 Cl. Ct. 553 (1981). Therefore, we do not find any error in our earlier decision denying your clientss claim.

Very Truly Yours,

Paul Britner
Senior Attorney

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