US Army Corps of Engineers
Buffalo District Website

  USACE Buffalo District Office of Counsel 

About Us

The Office of Counsel provides a broad range of legal services to the District in support of its various missions.  The attorneys and support staff represent the Corps’ legal position and rights as an organization in such areas as contract law, environmental law, fiscal law, torts and admiralty claims, ethics, and personnel law.  The goal is to practice preventive law — to be engaged in the planning and design phases of the District’s projects to facilitate smooth and effective execution from conception to completion.

Mission

The Office of Counsel mission is to provide high-quality, timely, and helpful legal and policy advice and services to the Buffalo District Commander and staff to ensure that Corps missions and activities are executed legally and ethically.

Doing Business with the Office of Counsel

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Filing a Claim with USACE under the Federal Tort Claims Act

For a claim of personal injury or property damage that a person alleges has been caused by the negligent acts of an employee of the United States Government, federal law requires that the claimant file a written claim with the appropriate federal agency.  If you believe you have suffered personal injury or property damage as a result of a negligent act of the Buffalo District Army Corps of Engineers, you may submit a claim to the Office of Counsel under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 United States Code § 2671 et seq. A standard form must be used to submit a claim under the FTCA. A copy may be obtained and printed by clicking SF 95.

Required Information

If a claim is filed by a duly authorized agent or other legal representative, there must be evidence submitted with the claim satisfactory to the Government to establish express authority to act for the claimant.  A claim presented by an agent or legal representative must be presented in the name of the claimant.  If the claim is signed by the agent or legal representative, it must show the title or legal capacity of the person signing and be accompanied by evidence of his/her authority to present a  claim on behalf of the claimant as agent, executor, administrator, parent, guardian, or other representative.

Failure to specify a sum certain will render your claim invalid and may result in forfeiture of your rights.

The amount claimed should be substantiated by competent evidence as indicated on the “Instructions” section of the SF 95.

Failure to completely execute the SF 95 or to supply the required materials within two years from the date the claim accrued may render your claim invalid. 

A claim is deemed presented when it is received by the appropriate agency, not when it is mailed.

Once the claim is received, the agency will have six months from the date of receipt to investigate and adjudicate your claim.
 


Submitting Your Claim

Your claim (completed SF-95 and supporting documents) may be submitted to the following address:

Office of Counsel
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207

Questions

To speak with someone regarding a claim, please dial (716) 879-4184 and your call will be directed to the appropriate party.  

This information is intended only to provide general information on claims and procedures for filing claims under the FTCA. It is not intended to provide legal advice, to discourage or encourage the filing of a claim, or to make any suggestion as to whether a claim would be paid by the Government.

Requesting Witnesses or Documents for Private Litigation (Touhy Requests)

Under 32 C.F.R. § 516, Subpart G, Release of Information and Appearance of Witnesses, Department of Defense Directive 5405.2,  Release of Information in Litigation and Testimony by DoD Personnel as Witnesses, and Army Regulation 27-40, Chapter 7, Release of Information and Appearance of Witnesses, the Army must authorize the appearance of its personnel or the production of official documents in private litigation.

Individuals seeking official information (requesting witnesses or documents for private litigation) must submit to the Office of Counsel, at least 14 days before the desired date of production, a specific written request outlining the nature of the proceeding and the nature and relevance of the information sought.  The Government cannot act upon your request until it receives all required information.  See United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).  Upon receipt of a proper Touhy request, the agency will review and make an authorization determination. 

Army Regulation 37-60 prescribes the schedule of fees and charges for searching, copying, and certifying Army records for release in response to litigation-related requests.

Each employee’s supervisor must approve his or her absence from duty so that the absence does not interfere with the agency’s mission.  If an employee is authorized to appear, you must subpoena them and pay all travel, meals, and lodging expenses, as a witness' appearance to testify or act as records custodian for private litigation must be at no expense to the United States.  Please note that an employee will only provide factual testimony and cannot provide opinion or expert testimony. 


Submitting a Touhy Request

Mail your request and all required information to:

Office of Counsel
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207

Questions

To speak with someone regarding a Touhy request, please dial (716) 879-4184 and your call will be directed to the appropriate party.  

This information is intended only to provide general information on requesting witnesses or documents for private litigation. It is not intended to provide legal advice, to discourage or encourage the submission of a request, or to make any suggestion as to whether a request would be granted by the Government.

Contact Us

Office of Counsel
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District
1776 Niagara Street
Buffalo, NY 14207
Phone: (716) 879-4184
Fax: (716) 879-4292