Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office Helps with FLIPL Rebuttals

By Capt. Christian Hewitt, Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office

Attorneys at the Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office can provide help with Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss Rebuttals.

A FLIPL is an investigation into lost and/or damaged government property. The purpose of conducting a FLIPL is for the unit to 1) determine the facts of the loss, 2) prevent future loss, 3) adjust property records, and 4) determine liability. A FLIPL is not a punitive action.

FLIPLs are required under the following circumstances: 1) negligence/willful misconduct and no admission of liability, 2) value of loss, damage, destruction, or theft exceeds monthly base pay, or 3) loss, damage, destruction, or theft of controlled items (e.g. classified/sensitive), which yields a mandatory investigation under Army Regulation 15-6.

Along with the service member, there are a few parties involved in a FLIPL. The appointing authority for FLIPLs is usually a Lieutenant Colonel or Colonel (based on the amount of the LDDT): General Officers are usually the appointing authority for sensitive items. The approving authority is the next higher commander from the appointing authority. The Financial Liability Officer for a FLIPL is often a Sergeant First Class or higher and should be senior to those subject to potential liability.

AR 735-5 establishes processing times to follow while conducting FLIPLs. A FLIPL should be initiated within 15 days after discovery of LDDT. The FLO generally has 30 days to complete the investigation. After the investigation is complete, the service member has seven days to rebut the evidence. The Fort Bliss Legal Assistance Office will help with these efforts. Altogether, the entire FLIPL process should last no longer than 75 days.

The duty of the FLO is to consider the totality of the facts and circumstances to determine liability. If the property is damaged, the FLO will physically examine damaged property and release it for turn-in or repair. The FLO will interview relevant witnesses and take statements. The results of the investigation will lead to the FLO determining the cause and value of the LDDT of government property.

In order to find a service member liable, the FLO must find four elements. The FLO must determine that the service member 1) was responsible for the property in question; 2) that the service member was negligent in breaching their responsibility; 3) that the service member’s negligence was the proximate cause of the LDDT; and 4) that the negligence resulted in LDDT.

Service members are entitled to legal assistance to review the FLIPL and assist with any rebuttal. There are many issues not covered in this article that may apply to a particular situation. If you have questions, make an appointment at the Fort Bliss LAO by emailing