Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 514 U.S. 122, 11 (1995)

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132

DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS v. NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING & DRY DOCK CO.

Opinion of the Court

But even assuming the single-minded, compensate-the-employee goal that the Director posits, there is nothing to suggest that the Director has been given authority to pursue that goal in the courts. Agencies do not automatically have standing to sue for actions that frustrate the purposes of their statutes. The Interior Department, being charged with the duty to "protect persons and property within areas of the National Park System," 16 U. S. C. 1a-6(a), does not thereby have authority to intervene in suits for assault brought by campers; or (more precisely) to bring a suit for assault when the camper declines to do so. What the Director must establish here is such a clear and distinctive responsibility for employee compensation as to overcome the universal assumption that "person adversely affected or aggrieved" leaves private interests (even those favored by public policy) to be litigated by private parties. That we are unable to find. The Director is not the designated champion of employees within this statutory scheme. To the contrary, one of her principal roles is to serve as the broker of informal settlements between employers and employees. 33 U. S. C. 914(h). She is charged, moreover, with providing "information and assistance" regarding the program to all persons covered by the Act, including employers. 902(1), 939(c). To be sure, she has discretion under 939(c) to provide "legal assistance in processing a claim" if it is requested (a provision that is perhaps of little consequence, since the Act provides attorney's fees to successful claimants, see 928); but that authority, which is discretionary with her and contingent upon a request by the claimant, does not evidence the duty and power, when the claimant is satisfied with his award, to contest the award on her own.

The Director argues that her standing to pursue the public's interest in adequate compensation of claimants is supported by our decisions in Heckman v. United States, 224 U. S. 413 (1912), Moe v. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Flathead Reservation, 425 U. S. 463 (1976), Pasa-

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