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14 U.S. Code § 938 - Claims for damage to property of the United States

The Secretary may consider, ascertain, adjust, determine, compromise, or settle claims for damage cognizable in admiralty in a district court of the United States and all claims for damage caused by a vessel or floating object, to property of the United States under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard or property for which the Coast Guard may have assumed, by contract or otherwise, any obligation to respond for damage thereto. The Secretary is further authorized to receive in payment of any such claim the amount due the United States pursuant to determination, compromise, or settlement as herein authorized and, upon acceptance of such payment but not until then, such determination, settlement, or compromise of such claim shall be final and conclusive for all purposes, any law to the contrary notwithstanding. All such payments shall be deposited in the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts. The Secretary is further authorized to execute on behalf of the United States and to deliver in exchange for such payment a full release of such claim. This section, as respects the determination, compromise, settlement, and payment of claims, shall be supplementary to, and not in lieu of, all other provisions of law authorizing the determination, compromise, or settlement of claims for damage to property hereinabove described. No settlement or compromise where there is involved a payment in the net amount of over $425,000 is authorized by this section.

(Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, 63 Stat. 549, § 647; Pub. L. 86–533, § 1(3)(B), June 29, 1960, 74 Stat. 245; Pub. L. 94–546, § 1(34), Oct. 18, 1976, 90 Stat. 2521; Pub. L. 98–557, § 17(b)(3)(A), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2868; renumbered § 938, Pub. L. 115–282, title I, § 107(b), Dec. 4, 2018, 132 Stat. 4205; Pub. L. 116–283, div. G, title LVXXXII [LXXXII], § 8212(b), Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 4650.)
Historical and Revision Notes

This section closely parallels title 34, U.S.C., 1946 ed., §§ 600a, 600b, which authorize the Secretary of the Navy to negotiate amicable settlements of affirmative claims of the United States for damage to Government property. Experience gained by the Navy since enactment of title 34, U.S.C., 1946 ed., §§ 600a–600d, indicates that such amicable settlement reacts to the benefit of the Government in many cases. The provisions of this section would complement those of section 646 of this title and the two sections together would permit the Coast Guard to negotiate the settlement of claims arising out of Coast Guard floating operations, both for and against the United States. 81st Congress, House Report No. 557.

Editorial Notes

2021—Pub. L. 116–283 substituted “$425,000” for “$100,000”.

2018—Pub. L. 115–282 renumbered section 647 of this title as this section.

1984—Pub. L. 98–557 substituted “$100,000” for “$25,000”.

1976—Pub. L. 94–546 struck out subsection designation “(a)” and substituted “Secretary” for “Secretary of the Treasury” wherever appearing, “deposited in the Treasury of the United States” for “covered into the Treasury of the United States”, and “authorized by this section” for “authorized by this title”.

1960—Pub. L. 86–533 repealed subsec. (b) which required the Secretary of the Treasury to report to Congress with respect to payments received by the United States in excess of $3,000.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 1984 Amendment

Pub. L. 98–557, § 17(b)(3)(B), Oct. 30, 1984, 98 Stat. 2868, provided that:

“The amendment made by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph [amending this section] shall apply to all claims considered, ascertained, adjusted, determined, compromised or settled on or after the date of enactment of this Act [Oct. 30, 1984].”