months later a third Government employee was assigned to the same billet. This third person made a proposition to the defendant to engage in homosexual acts, which the defendant says he emphatically rejected. He testified that although each of the three men in this billet had a separate room, he kept a rifle ready at hand to repel any further similar approaches. His request for transfer to another billet on the ground that he would prefer to be assigned to a billet by himself or with other persons was not immediately granted, and he continued to reside in the same quarters for a period of three months. During this time the third occupant on one or two other occasions made remarks repulsive to the defendant. The defendant never took any direct action against this third person whom he charges with having made indecent proposals, nor did he ever discuss the matter with any other person at the station. It was soon after this third person was assigned to his billet that the defendant submitted his resignation. He was advised that it would take some time to process the resignation, and, therefore, he requested that it become effective on February 2, 1952.
When the person offensive to the defendant left the station, a reassignment of billets was made and the defendant was given a billet to himself. This lasted only for a short time, after which he was assigned to another billet with five men, some of whom engaged in much drinking, and one of whom, according to the defendant, also made an indecent proposal to him. Without stating that this occurrence was the reason, the defendant announced to the station manager that he was leaving the station the next day, which he did.
Not only did the defendant, a physically vigorous and well-developed man who previously served in the United States Navy, take no action against the makers of the improper suggestions, but he admitted that he never informed the station manager or the personnel at Anchorage, Alaska, with whom he subsequently discussed his departure, that the indecent approaches were the reason for the abandonment of his post. Moreover, the defendant testified that it was not until after he had been served with the summons in this action that he even informed his attorney, whom he had been consulting for over two years respecting the Government's claim, that the phrase 'for reasons I consider personal' in his letter of resignation referred to the incident of the first indecent proposal made to him.
At no time has the defendant ever sought medical advice for any nervous or mental ailment. The only symptom that the defendant cited as a consequence of his being stationed in Summit, Alaska, was a loss of weight of 40 pounds, which weight he apparently regained upon his return to the United States.
The sole issue in this case is whether the defendant was separated from, or prevented from remaining in his employment in Alaska by circumstances beyond his control. That an individual or individuals at the post to which defendant was assigned made offensive remarks and otherwise irritated the sensibilities of the defendant does not constitute circumstances beyond the defendant's control as that language is used in the contract and conditions of employment cited above. These circumstances were mere unforeseen difficulties which arose in the course of the performance of the defendant's contract. The defendant made no effort whatsoever to remove these difficulties as he might have by raising them with his employer. As said in Jonesboro Compress Co. v. Mente & Co., 8 Cir., 1934, 72 F.2d 3, 5:
"It is a well-settled rule of law, that if a party by his contract charge himself with an obligation possible to be performed, he must make it good, unless its performance is rendered impossible by the act of God, the law, or the other party. Unforeseen difficulties, however great, will not excuse him."
An undisclosed personal aversion to physical surroundings and fellow employees under the circumstances here involved certainly does not meet the contractual criterion of conditions beyond the defendant's control. And the evidence will not support a conclusion that the circumstances caused the defendant to suffer a mental ailment which might satisfy that criterion.
I hold, therefore, that defendant's resignation and departure from his post within the minimum period for which he agreed to serve was voluntary on his part and that he was not prevented from completing his minimum period of employment by 'circumstances beyond his control.'
Upon the basis of the foregoing facts and conclusions of law, the Government is entitled to recover from the defendant the sum of $ 552.28, together with interest thereon at 6% per annum from September 24, 1953, which I compute at $ 89,24 (to June 4, 1956), or a total amount of $ 641.52. An appropriate order may be submitted.
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