14 CFR 1261.301 - Authority.
(a) Under the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act, as amended (see 28 U.S.C. 2671-2680), and subject to its limitations, the Administrator or designee is authorized to consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, compromise, and settle any claim for money damages against the United States for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any NASA employee while acting within the scope of his/her office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred. In exercising such authority, the Administrator or designee is required to act in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Attorney General (28 CFR part 14). An award, compromise, or settlement in excess of $25,000 may be effected only with the prior written approval of the Attorney General or designee.
(b) Under sec. 203(c)(13)(A) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 2473(c)(13)(A), NASA is authorized to consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, settle, and pay, on behalf of the United States, in full satisfaction thereof, any claim for $25,000 or less against the United States for bodily injury, death or damage to or loss of real or personal property resulting from the conduct of NASA's functions as specified in 42 U.S.C. 2473(a). At the discretion of NASA, a claim may be settled and paid under this authority even though the United States could not be held legally liable to the claimant.
(c) Under 42 U.S.C. 2473(c)(13)(B), if NASA considers that a claim in excess of $25,000 is meritorious and would otherwise be covered by 42 U.S.C. 2473(c)(13)(A), NASA may report the facts and circumstances of the claim to the Congress for its consideration or to the Comptroller General as provided in the “Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1978,” Pub. L. 95-240 (92 Stat. 107), 31 U.S.C. 724a.
(d) Under 28 U.S.C. 2679, the Attorney General of the United States shall defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against a Government employee for injury or loss of property or personal injury or death, resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle by the Government employee while acting within the scope of office or employment. In effect, this legislation is designed to protect an employee driving a motor vehicle on Government business by converting such a civil court action or proceeding against the employee into a claim against the United States: Provided, That the employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident. The remedy against the United States provided by 28 U.S.C. 2672 (administrative adjustment of claims) and 28 U.S.C. 1346(b) (civil action against the United States) then becomes the plaintiff's exclusive remedy.