Claims & Tort Litigation (Code 15)
The Claims and Tort Litigation Division (Code 15) has worldwide responsibility for processing different types of claims under various statutes and regulations. Code 15 processes approximately 45,000 claims each year, with claims paid and recovered totaling $60-$70 million.
Code 15 is comprised of a headquarters unit at the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.; a Tort Claims Unit (TCU) in Norfolk, VA; a Personnel Claims Unit (PCU) in Norfolk, VA; and three Medical Care Recovery Units (MCRU), one each in Norfolk, VA, Pensacola, FL, and San Diego, CA.
Code 15 is also the custodian and designated release authority for all command investigations convened pursuant to Chapter II of the Manual of the Judge Advocate General conducted prior to December 1995, and all litigation report investigations. Code 15 is not the custodian or release authority for command investigations convened after December 1995 nor investigations involving breaches of classified information or information security regulations maintained by the Chief of Naval Operations (N09N).
As the manager of the Navy Claims System, Code 15 develops and implements claims policy for the Judge Advocate General (JAG) and the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), and processes all claims brought for or against the Navy under the following statutes:
- Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-2680 – Limited waiver of U.S. sovereign immunity for damages for personal injury, death or property damage caused by negligence of Federal employees acting within the scope of employment. Settlements by JAG exceeding $300,000 require approval by the Department of Justice (DoJ);
- Military Claims Act (MCA), 10 U.S.C. § 2733 – Similar to FTCA, but applies worldwide (FTCA does not); no right to sue. JAG settlement authority is $100,000; SECNAV has unlimited settlement authority;
- Foreign Claims Act (FCA), 10 U.S.C. § 2734 – Compensation for inhabitants of foreign countries for property damage, personal injury or death occurring outside the United States and caused by either members or civilians of U.S. Armed Forces or noncombat activities of these Forces in foreign countries. JAG settlement authority is $100,000; SECNAV has unlimited settlement authority;
- Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claims Act (PCA), 31 U.S.C. § 3721 – Gratuitous act to compensate Navy and Marine Corps military and civilians for loss, damage or destruction of personal property "incident to service;"
- Federal Claims Collection Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3711 – Code 15's TCU recovers from tortfeasors for damage to Navy property and deposits money into appropriate accounts as required by law, and Code 15's PCU recovers from carriers, contractors and insurers for payments made under the PCA to Navy and Marine Corps personnel for loss of or damage to their personal property during government-contracted shipment pursuant to military orders;
- Medical Care Recovery Act (MCRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2651-2653; also 10 U.S.C. § 1095 – Code 15's MCRUs recover from third-party tortfeasors and insurers for medical expenditures for Navy and Marine Corps active duty, retirees and their dependents. Money collected by the MCRUs is returned to the Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) where care was provided or returned to TRICARE for care provided outside of an MTF and paid for by TRICARE;
- Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 and Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a – Code 15 serves as the custodian and release authority for command investigations conducted prior to December 1995 and all litigation report investigations.
Supports the DoJ and U.S. Attorneys in tort litigation involving Navy activities.
- Principal advisor to the Judge Advocate General of the Navy on Claims Policy and Tort Litigation matters;
- Coordinates issues with claims, litigation, and transportation offices within DoD, DoJ, Department of State (DOS) and the carrier industry;
- Responds to Congressional inquiries and requests fro information for tort litigation purposes from DoD.