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Memorandum of Disapproval of H.R. 4939 a Bill for the Relief of Joseph H. Bonduki

October 25, 1968

I am withholding my approval of H.R. 4939, a bill "For the relief of Joseph H. Bonduki."

The bill would confer jurisdiction on the Court of Claims to hear, determine and render judgment on the claim of Joseph H. Bonduki, based upon his allegedly wrongful separation in 1953 from employment with the then International Information Administration of the Department of State.

Mr. Bonduki appealed twice to the Civil Service Commission which ruled that the agency's action, based upon medical suitability, was warranted and in accordance with established procedures. Eight years later, in 1961, Mr. Bonduki filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The same reasons advanced before the Congress for this protracted delay were presented to the Court. The action was dismissed because of Mr. Bonduki's failure to seek timely relief.

In 1966, Mr. Bonduki again instituted suit this time in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. This litigation was dismissed because Mr. Bonduki had presented his claim to a Federal court in 1961 and that court had dismissed it even then as being untimely. This second dismissal was upheld upon appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Thus, the legislation runs counter to three court decisions and offends the strong public policy in favor of finality of judgments. It would force the United States to defend a suit on a 1953 claim upon which there was a ruling in 1961 of prejudice to the Government because of the delay in filing suit. Finally, the legislation is preferential in that it would permit Mr. Bonduki's unreasonably delayed and judicially barred claim to be litigated, whereas other employees similarly situated have not been given that opportunity.

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

The White House

October 25, 1968

Lyndon B. Johnson, Memorandum of Disapproval of H.R. 4939 a Bill for the Relief of Joseph H. Bonduki Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/306436

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