AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability
of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel


     Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu

Federal Tort Claims Act

     Customs and Border Protection agents in Louisiana boarded a Greyhound bus and performed a routine check of passengers' immigration status. A Mongolian citizen in the U.S. on an H-1B temporary worker visa was unable to produce his immigration papers despite a law requiring him to carry them. He was therefore arrested when the agents were unable to verify his status, pursuant to the agecy's policy requiring detention under these circumstances. He sued the U.S. government, claiming false arrest and imprisonment under Louisiana law, as provided by the Federal Tort Claims Act's waiver of sovereign immunity by the federal government. The claim was rejected under the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act. The court concluded that an investigation into a perso's immigratio status is considered discretionary when that investigation culminates in a detainment mandated by an agency policy. Tsolmon v. United States, #15-20609, 841 F.3d 378 (5th Cir. 2016).
   Three masked intruders who invaded a family home shot and killed the husband ad daughter and shot the wife in the arm. The wife sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), 2680(a), claiming that the FBI had possessed information about the impending home invasion but had failed to disclose it to local law enforcement. She argued that such a disclosure might have prevented the crime. The federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit, agreeing that the FBI's decision as to whether to disclose such information was the type of decision that Congress intended to shield from liability under the statute and was covered by a discretionary function exception to liability. The decision involved policy judgments about the reliability of the information, the relative importance of the crime, and the FBI's mission and resources. Gonzalez v. United States, #13-15218, 2016 U.S. App. Lexis 3195 (9th Cir.).
     The estates of two people killed in a drunk driving accident on a Native American reservation sued the federal government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2674, arguing that tribal police were negligent in failing to locate and arrest the drunk driver prior to the accident. A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the claim, finding that, under South Dakota law, applicable to the defendant under the FTCA, there was no mandatory duty on police to protect a particular person or class of people absent a special relationship. The tribal police in this case did nothing that increased the risk of harm to the decedents by failing to arrest the drunk driver after his erratic driving was reported. Sorace v. United States, #14-2683, 788 F.3d 758 (8th Cir. 2015).
     A D.C. prisoner was incarcerated for over two decades in both federal and state prisons on a conviction for raping and robbing a woman in 1981 when he was 18. After his parole, he was required to register as a sex offender, limting his employment, housing, and other opportunities. During his incarceration, he suffered multiple instances of sexual and physical assaults, and contracted HIV. In 2012, at the age of 50, he was exonerated and determined to be actually innocent of the robbery and rape, based on DNA evidence. He reached a settlement of claims against the fedeeral government under the Unjust Convictions Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1495 and 25a3, and the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq. of $1,128,082.19, based on $50,000 times the 22.56 years he was incarcerated. Continuing to pursue his claims against the District of Columbia inder the D.C. Unjust Imprisonment Act, D.C. Code Sec. 2-421 et. seq., he was awarded $9,154,500 in damages for wrongful conviction, unjust imprisonment, sexual and physical assaults, contracting HIV, lost income, and physcal and psychological injuries. A D.ZC. court found that his wrongful conviction and unjust imprisonment had been a proximate cause of all these damages. It also rejected an argument that D.C. was entitled to an offset from the award for the amount of the plaintiff's settlement with the federal government. Odom v. District of Columbia, #2013-CA-3239, 2015 D.C. Super. Lexis 2.
     A Border Patrol agent shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy who was standing in Mexico across the border from the U.S. Claims against the U.S. government were properly rejected as the federal government had not waived sovereign immunity on claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Alien Tort Statute did not waive sovereign immunity. The plaintiff failed to show that any of the supervisory personnel sued were personally responsible for the agent's actions. A Fifth Amendment due process claim, however, could continue against the agent, and the plaintiffs had alleged sufficient facts to overcome qualified immunity. The boy and his friends, at the time of the shooting, were playing a game in which they ran up the incline of the culvert on their side of the border, touched the barbed-wire fence, and then ran back down the incline. Hernandez. v. United States, #12-50301, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12307 (5th Cir.).
     A Marine sergeant was accused of having committed a sexual assault while on a recruitment detail at a middle school. A lawsuit was filed against the U.S. government for the sexual assault under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The claim accrued when the plaintiff became aware of her injury, not when she claimed to have learned of the Marine Corp's negligence. Since she did not file an administrative claim until four years after the incident, the FTCA's two-year statute of limitations would ordinarily bar the claim, but during the appeal of the lawsuit's dismissal, the 9th Circuit ruled in Wong v. Beebe, #10-36136, 732 F.3d 1030 (9th Cir. 2013) that equitable tolling of the statute of limitations was available in FTCA cases. The appeals court therefore ordered that the trial court hold further proceedings to consider the plaintiff's equitable tolling arguments. Gallardo v. United States, #12-55255, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 6964 (9th Cir.).
     Two vehicle passengers injured in an accident sought to hold a rural Alaskan city vicariously liable for their injuries that were allegedly caused by a native village tribal police officer who was certified as a federal employee for purposes of the lawsuit. The officer ordered the two minors to ride on the back of a for wheeler he was driving after he found them out in violation of curfew. They were thrown off the vehicle when he lost control of the vehicle. The vicarious liability claim was based on the theory that the city had a non-delegable duty to provide law enforcement services to the community. The officer, a federal appeals court found, was entitled to immunity from liability under both his tribe's sovereign immunity and under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The injured plaintiffs' sole remedy was against the federal government and the immunities available to the officer extended to the city. M.J. v. United States, #11-35625, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 13416 (9th Cir.).
    Federal agents and deputy sheriffs carried out an inspection at a border checkpoint. A father and a number of others were detained when his son fled the checkpoint in a vehicle. Three months after this incident, the father and a passenger in that vehicle were stopped while driving in a national park on the basis of a be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) report that had issued on the father's vehicle after the prior incident. Unlawful search and seizure claims were rejected because the rangers who stopped the vehicle had a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle might contain a fleeing felon or weapons. The appeals court denied, however, federal agents' motion to thrown out a false imprisonment claim under an exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act for claims arising from the detention of goods. No goods were then being detained after the son fled the checkpoint in the vehicle. The court also rejected excessive force claims against the rangers based on them drawing their weapons and handcuffing the father and his passenger during their traffic stop since they had reason to believe that those in the car might be dangerous. Davila v. United States, #12-50044, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6749 (5th Cir.).
     U.S. Marshals teamed up with local police to conduct a roundup of fugitives in 24 states that resulted in 10,733 arrests. One of the arrestees turned out not to be the arrestee sought, but someone else with the same name, due to a clerical error by a city's police department. That arrestee's lawsuit against the U.S. government was barred under the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C.S. § 2680(a). Officers making the arrest did not have the arrest warrant in their possession at the time the arrest was made, and were not required to have it under the city's existing arrest policy. The plaintiffs also failed to produce any evidence that the officers intended to falsely arrest the arrestee, so a law enforcement exception to the intentional tort exception of the FTCA did not apply. Milligan v. United States, # 10-5615, 670 F.3d 686 (6th Cir. 2012).
     Lawsuits filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the federal government claiming it was liable for two deaths because of the F.B.I.'s thirty-year "alliance" with a mobster-turned-informant were time-barred under an applicable two-year statute of limitations. The mobster allegedly ordered the decedents' deaths. The plaintiffs had sufficient information to assert their claims more than two years before they did so, based on testimony in a hearing about the federal government's role in the cases, and media reports of the information. Donahue v. U.S., #09-1950, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 2644 (1st Cir.).
     The federal government was not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for the actions of a U.S. Special Agent who became involved in an auto accident during a car chase with a motorcycle rider. He did not act within the scope of his employment and acted as a private person while driving home from work in an unmarked government vehicle when he became involved in the dispute with the motorcyclist. Merlonghi v. U.S., #09-2387, 620 F.3d 50 (1st Cir.2010).
     A woman from China and her husband sued the federal government and a number of officials under the Federal Tort Claims Act, asserting that an asylum officer demanded sexual favors from her in return for assisting with her asylum application. He had the authority to grant her asylum request, eliminating the need for a formal hearing on it. When she refused to allow him to allegedly unzip and remove her pants, he denied her application A federal appeals court upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit in part, as the plaintiff failed to establish that there was a specific duty violated under the Fifth Amendment or any evidence that could establish the existence of an unconstitutional policy. It did, however, reinstate an emotional distress claim, and stated that emotional distress suffered from such a request for sexual favors could potentially be proven and constitute an injury separate and apart from battery. The U.S. government is immune under the Federal Tort Claims Act from claims for battery committed by its employees.. Lu v. Powell, #08-56421, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 18368 (9th Cir.).
     In a lawsuit claiming that the government's negligence resulted in the wrongful deportation of the plaintiff's son, brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the U.S. government was protected from the lawsuit by the discretionary function exception of the Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec, 2680(a). Castro v. U.S., #07-40416, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 11241 (5th Cir.).
     FBI agents allegedly protected a group of murderers, referred to as the "Bulger gang," against apprehension and prosecution, in order to use them as informants against La Cosa Nostra. This allegedly continued for over twenty years, despite notice that the informants were killers and would continue to commit murders. The estates of three persons allegedly killed by the informants sued the FBI, FBI agents, and the informants. The U.S. government was liable for the death of a man killed after an FBI agent allegedly leaked his intent to incriminate an informant, making it foreseeable that the informant would try to murder him. The government was also liable for the deaths of an informant's former girlfriend and her daughter, because a federal agent created an unreasonable risk of harm to them by helping the informants avoid arrest. The federal agents' conduct was within the scope of their employment, given that their superiors agreed to their actions to protect the informants. The court rejected, however, claims by the decedents' families for intentional infliction of emotional distress because they lacked "contemporaneous" knowledge of the murders. An exception to liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq., for discretionary functions did not apply, as the conduct of the FBI was found to be criminal and in violation of the agency's guidelines. One family was awarded a total of $1,150,000, a second family received a total of $1,352,005, and a third received $219,795. Litif v. U.S., Civil Action #02-11791, 2010 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7493 (D. Mass.).
     Almost thirty years after four men were convicted of involvement in an organized crime "gangland slaying," the F.B.I. disclosed, for the first time, that it had all along possessed reliable intelligence undercutting the testimony of a cooperating witness whose version of the murder was the basis of the convictions, but had suppressed this information. All four convictions were vacated, but by then, two of the men had died in prison, the third had been paroled, and only the fourth was still incarcerated. The two surviving men, along with the estates of the two decedents, sued the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b), 2671-2680. After a bench trial, the court found the government liable, awarding over $100 million in damages. A federal appeals court, while commenting that the damage awards were "considerably higher than any one of us, if sitting on the trial court bench, would have ordered," nevertheless upheld the awards, finding that they were not "so grossly disproportionate to the harm sustained as to either shock our collective conscience or raise the specter of a miscarriage of justice." There was no liability for malicious prosecution, the court held, as the U.S. government had not initiated the murder prosecution of the four men by the state of Massachusetts, but liability was found on the basis of a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, applicable to the U.S. government through the FTCA. Limone v. U.S., #08-1327, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 19239 (1st Cir.).
      As previously reported, a federal appeals court panel held that a trial court improperly dismissed, on sovereign immunity grounds, false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution claims against a federal DEA agent, since Congress, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, waived sovereign immunity on such claims, including those stemming from discretionary function acts of federal law enforcement or investigative officers. Nguyen v. U.S., No. 07-12874, 545 F.3d 1282 (11th Cir. 2008). On a reconsideration granted by the panel on its own motion, the court again stated that such claims were expressly allowed by the plain language of the law, and substituted a new opinion for the one previously issued. Nguyen v. U.S., No. 07-12874, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 2127 (11th Cir.).
      The U.S. government could be sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act for the actions of Federal Protective Services agents in instigating an alleged malicious prosecution of a security company employee for false (incomplete) reporting concerning an incident in which a security company employee locked out on the roof of a federal building was purportedly naked. The agents, in encouraging the prosecution of the plaintiff, allegedly falsely indicated that she knew of the nudity, but failed to include it in her report. This, if true, fell outside the scope of the agents' performance of a discretionary function, an exception to liability under 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a), since it involved the alleged knowing submission of false affidavits to the prosecutor and, ultimately, the state court in an “effort to corrupt the fairness of the prosecution.” The fact that no search, seizure, or arrest was involved did not alter the result. Reynolds v. U.S., No. 08-1634, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 24720 (7th Cir.).
     Trial court improperly dismissed, on sovereign immunity grounds, false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution claims against a federal DEA agent, since Congress, under the Federal Tort Claims Act, waived sovereign immunity on such claims, including those stemming from discretionary function acts of federal law enforcement or investigative officers. Nguyen v. U.S., No. 07-12874, 545 F.3d 1282 (11th Cir. 2008).
     A former Chicago police officer sentenced to death on kidnapping and murder charges subsequently had his conviction overturned, and sued FBI agents for allegedly "framing" him in violation of his constitutional rights. A jury found for the plaintiff on these claims, and $6.5 million in damages was awarded. The trial court subsequently granted judgment to the U.S. government on malicious prosecution claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346, 2671-2680. The trial court subsequently also vacated the jury's award to the plaintiff on the federal civil rights claims, finding that the "judgment bar" rule of the FTCA contained in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2676 barred the federal civil rights claims against the FBI agents, even though the judgment against them had previously been entered. Under the applicable provision of the FTCA, a judgment under the FTCA acts as a "complete bar to any action by the claimant, by reason of the same subject matter, against the employee of the government whose act or omission gave rise to the claim." In this case, the plaintiff, by pursuing both federal civil rights claims, and claims under the FTCA, and failing to drop the FTCA claims after he received the jury's $6.5 million verdict on the federal civil rights claim lost any right to collect on the jury's verdict. His decision to proceed to take the FTCA claims to judgment, the court found, triggered Sec. 2676 and required the vacating of the jury's award after the FTCA claim was rejected. A federal appeals court upheld this result. The appeals court stated that it was "bound by the plain language of the judgment bar, which makes no exception for claims brought in the same action, and gives no indication that the sequencing of judgments should control the application of the bar." Manning v. U.S.A., No. 07-1120, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20996 (7th Cir.).
     The U.S. government and a capitol police officer were sued under the Federal Tort Claims Act for negligence in attempting a traffic stop, followed by a high-speed chase of a stolen car, ending in a crash. A car crash victim and the father of a deceased victim of the crash claimed that the victims had accepted a ride in the stolen vehicle unknowingly, shortly after it had been acquired in an armed carjacking. The court held that applicable standard under the FTCA was local laws concerning vehicular negligence applying to private citizens, not to government employees, and that, under that standard, the plaintiffs had alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for negligence under District of Columbia law. Lee v. U.S.A., Civil Action No. 06-2184, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 62047 (D. Ok.).
     An FBI agent who turned over potentially exculpatory evidence to a prosecutor fulfilled her non-discretionary duty in doing so, and the federal government could not be held liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b)(1) and 2671 et seq. for alleged wrongful prosecution of the plaintiff for engaging in a sexual act with a person under the age of twelve on an Indian reservation. The plaintiff's conviction for the offense was overturned based on the prosecutor's failure to turn that exculpatory evidence over to the defense. Once the FBI agent presented the exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor, however, her actions satisfied due process. Further, a private party in Montana, the location of the case, who acted as the FBI agent did, would not have been liable for the prosecutor's subsequent failure to turn over the material to the defense. Gray v. Dept. of Justice, No. 07-35171, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 9597 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     Federal officers were not shown to have used excessive force against an arrestee, so that the federal government had no liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b)(1), 2671-2680. The court found, applying Wyoming law, that the force used during the arrest was justified, and that any injuries suffered were "incidental" to the reasonable use of force. The court also found no evidence of negligence by the officers. The U.S. was entitled to a "common-law privilege" defense protecting police officers from liability for using reasonable force during a lawful arrest. The court also found that, even if the force used was found to be unreasonable, comparative fault by the arrestee in resisting the lawful arrest was over 50%, which would bar any liability for the government under Wyoming law. The plaintiff could not claim that his arrest was unlawful, as his attorney had previously agreed that no such claim was presented. Fienhold v. U.S.A., No. 07-8058, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 8597 (10th Cir.).
     U.S. government was not liable for alleged damages to hundreds of handguns and long guns, as well as ammunition and packaging seized from a man's storage spaces by agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) under search warrants. A detention of goods exception to the waiver of sovereign immunity in the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(b) barred the claim. Also, another waiver of sovereign immunity in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(c)(1)-(4) only applied to property seized solely for the purpose of forfeiture, and, in this case, while forfeiture was a possibility for some of the weapons, criminal investigation was also a legitimate purpose of the seizure of the guns. Foster v. U.S.A., No. 06-56843 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 8125 (9th Cir.).
     A federal trial judge has awarded $101.7 million against the U.S. government on claims that the FBI was "responsible for the framing of four innocent men" for murder, causing them to serve decades for a crime they did not commit. Four men falsely convicted of a 1965 gangland murder, and their estates and families asserted claims against the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346 and 2671-2680 for malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and related claims. The trial court rejected the argument that the U.S. government was entitled to immunity based on the discretionary function exception to liability in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(a). The FBI's alleged conduct in knowingly allowing an informant to provide perjurious testimony in the murder trial, failing to reveal exculpatory evidence, and failing to disclose information about the actual murderers for a period of thirty years was unconstitutional and violated its own rules, the judge ruled. The court found that the FBI's conduct was the cause of the convictions, and that the conduct met the standard for intentional infliction of emotional distress, as the alleged actions violated all standards of decency and were intentional. The family members of the convicted persons were entitled to damages, under Massachusetts law for bystanders' intentional infliction of emotional distress. $1 million for each year of imprisonment was awarded to the men falsely convicted, or their estates. The minor children of the convicted men, and three of the wives of the convicted men were also awarded damages, as were an adult child of one of the men, and a wife who divorced one of the men. Two of the four men are now deceased, while two of them are still alive. Limone v. U.S., No. 02cv10890-NG, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 54224 (D. Mass.). [Editor's Note: The total damages awarded were $101.7 million].
     Secret Service officers who stopped a motorist based on an outstanding arrest warrant, and seized a bag including four prescription eyeglasses from his vehicle were within the definition of "any other law enforcement officer" in 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(c) of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The U.S. government, therefore, was protected from liability by this statutory provision barring liability for "detention of any goods, merchandise, or other property by any officer of customs or excise or any other law enforcement officer," on the motorist's claim concerning the alleged failure of the Secret Service to subsequently return the eyeglasses. Perez v. U.S., No. 06-CV-1508, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 36843 (D.N.J.).
     An arrestee's claims for alleged unlawful detention accrued at the latest in 1996, so that claims he asserted under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) in 2004, were barred by a two-year statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C.S. § 2401(b). Feurtado v. Dunivant, No. 06-56496, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 14238 (9th Cir.).
     Arrestee's claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution under the Federal Tort Claims Act and for federal postal employees' alleged violations of his federal civil rights accrued at the date that the alleged wrongful prosecution of him ended, so that they were barred by an applicable two-year statute of limitations. Braunstein v. U.S. Postal Service, No. 05-16390, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 8831 (9th Cir.).
     The Westfall Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2679(b)(1) provides federal employees absolute immunity from tort claims for actions taken in the course of their official duties, and gives the Attorney General the power to certify that a federal employee sued for wrongful or negligent conduct was acting within the scope of his office or employment at the time of the incident. Once that certification takes place, the U.S. government is substituted as the defendant instead of the employee, and the lawsuit is then governed by the Federal Tort Claims Act. Additionally, if the lawsuit began in state court, the Westfall Act provides that it shall be removed to federal court, and renders the Attorney General's certification "conclusive" for purposes of the removal. Once the certification and removal take place, the federal court has the exclusive jurisdiction over the case, and cannot decide to send the lawsuit back to state court. In this case, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that certification can take place under the Westfall Act in instances where the federal employee sued claims, and the Attorney General also concludes, that the incident alleged in the lawsuit never even took place. Osborn v. Haley, No. 05-593, 2007 U.S. Lexis 1323. [N/R]
     Motorist injured when his car was rear-ended by a car which had itself been rear-ended by a vehicle driven by an FBI agent was entitled to $651,037.01 in damages, including $100,000 for pain and suffering, future lost wages of $408,562 based on diminished earning capacity, and other damages for medical expenses and property damages. The award was made in a lawsuit for negligence againstthe FBI agent under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 2671-2680, and the court ruled that such negligence was the cause of the accident. Roark v. U.S., No.6:05CV00041, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 74784 (W.D. Va.). [N/R]
     In police officer's lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680, against an IRS agent who obtained his arrest and prosecution, summary judgment was properly granted on false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims. A presumption of probable cause which arose from the arrestee's indictment was not rebutted for purposes of the malicious prosecution claim when there was no evidence that the IRS agent lied in his testimony before a federal grand jury. Conrad v. U.S., No. 04-15402, 447 F. 3d 760 (9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     Wife could not pursue her claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the U.S. government for the death of her husband, allegedly murdered by FBI informants, since he failed to exhaust her available administrative remedies before filing her lawsuit. Barrett v. U.S., No. 05-1905, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 22745 (1st Cir.). [N/R]
     An arrestee's claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress against federal prosecutors and a postal inspector under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401(b), arising out of his arrest, were subject to a two year statute of limitations in New York. Levine v. Gerson, No. 05-0748, 164 Fed. Appx. 64 (2d Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     In a lawsuit brought against the U.S. government and an agent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for false arrest and malicious prosecution of a man for allegedly falsely obtaining government funds for disaster relief assistance after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(g) provides that a lawsuit against the U.S. government is the exclusive remedy, barring New York state law claims against the agent. Applying New York law to the claims against the U.S. government, the plaintiff could not prevail on his false arrest claim when his arrest was carried out under a valid arrest warrant, and could not recover on his malicious prosecution claim when he failed to show that the prosecution against him was started with "actual malice." Lewis v. U.S., No. 03 Civ. 10220, 388 F. Supp. 2d 190 (S.D.N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
     Tribal police officer responding to a domestic dispute between two non-Indians at a casino on tribal land was not engaged in enforcing federal law, and therefore he and his police chief could not pursue their claim for indemnification for claims of assault and battery against them under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(h). The federal government has not waived its sovereign immunity against indemnification claims in such circumstances. Herbert v. U.S., No. 05-30223, 438 F.3d 483 (5th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     In negligence claim brought by driver under Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b), 2671-80, for injuries allegedly suffered during accident involving a car driven by an FBI agent, the driver did not suffer "serious" injury as required for recovery under New York's No-Fault Insurance Law. The driver had pre-existing cervical and spinal damage and permanent injuries already in existence at the time of a car accident did not qualify as "serious injuries" under New York law applicable to FTCA lawsuit. Jones v. U.S., No. CV-04-1276, 408 F. Supp. 2d 107 (E.D.N.Y. 2006). [N/R]
     Tribal police officer engaged in an attempt to enforce tribal law was not a federal law enforcement officer within the meaning of the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680, and the defendants were therefore entitled to summary judgment in a lawsuit brought under that statute for alleged excessive use of force. LaVallie v. United States, No. A1-04-075, 396 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (D. N.D. 2005). [N/R]
     Motorist who was run over by Indian tribal police vehicle while hiding on the ground in alfalfa field after abandoning vehicle at the conclusion of high-speed chase could not recover damages under Federal Tort Claims Act. His own negligence in eluding officers and hiding in the field contributed to his injuries, barring recovery under applicable South Dakota law. Good Low v. US, No. 05-1114, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 24517 (8th Cir.). [2006 LR Jan]
     FBI and its personnel were not liable for death of murder victim killed after self-proclaimed bank robber called FBI offering to turn himself in, and allegedly killed the victim the following day after his call was purportedly ignored. Liability was barred under the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(a), as the decision as to how to respond to the phone call was discretionary. McCloskey v. Mueller, No. CIV.A.04-CV-11015, 385 F. Supp. 2d 74 (D. Mass. 2005). [N/R]
     Lawsuit against the U.S. government for alleged FBI complicity in the organized crime murder of a man purportedly ordered by two high-level FBI mob informants was barred because the victim's spouse failed to file an administrative claim with the FBI for over two years after she should have known, from publicly available information, that she had a possible claim. Callahan v. U.S , No. 04-2466 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 22395 (1st Cir.). [2005 LR Dec]
     Dismissal of plaintiff's suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act is affirmed where a reasonable factfinder could conclude that plaintiff has failed to show that defendants assaulted or maliciously prosecuted him under Ohio law. Harris v. U.S., No. 04-3520, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 19058 (6th Cir.). [2005 LR Oct]
     Undercover federal drug agent acted reasonably in fearing for her life and shooting a suspect participating in an attempted armed robbery during a drug transaction. U.S. government not liable under Federal Tort Claims Act for agent's actions which caused suspect to be paralyzed from the waist down. Morales v. US, No. 03-1743, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 10082 (6th Cir.). [2005 LR Sep]
     Liquor store owners stated a viable possible claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(b) based on alleged conduct of FBI agents who allegedly passed their names on to racketeers after they reported to police that they were victims of extortion by the racketeers, resulting in damage to their businesses. The racketeers were allegedly being protected by the FBI agents as confidential informants, and the agents acted within the scope of their employment under the FTCA in taking their alleged actions. The actions did not come within the "discretionary function" exemption to the FTCA, because the agents had "no room" for the exercise of discretion under extensive FBI regulations concerning how to handle confidential informants. The claims asserted, however, were time barred under the applicable statute of limitations, so the complaint was dismissed. Rakes v. United States, No. CIV.A.02-10480, 352 F. Supp. 2d 47 (D. Mass. 2005). [N/R]
    Federal Tort Claims Act did not provide jurisdiction for claim, by subsequently exonerated arrestees initially convicted of bank robberies, that FBI agents negligently failed to properly file and disclose conflicting eyewitness identifications of other suspects, resulting in their wrongful conviction. Wisconsin state law would not impose liability for negligence on private persons in similar circumstances, so there could not be liability for the U.S. government. Bolduc v. U.S., No. 03-2081, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 4718 (1st Cir. 2005). [2005 LR May]
     Probable cause existed for arrest and prosecution of man for bank robbery after which he was identified as the robber from surveillance photographs by his former wife and subsequently identified by a bank teller as the robber from a clear photograph of six men. Trial court therefore properly dismissed malicious prosecution claim against U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346 and 2671. Waller v. United States, No. 03-20877, 100 Fed. Appx. 254 (5th Cir. 2004). [N/R]
    Prior dismissal of a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act for the alleged intentional destruction of computer equipment and data seized during the execution of a search warrant did not bar a subsequent civil rights lawsuit against the federal agents involved in the search. Hallock v. Bonner, No. 03-6221, 387 F.3d 147 (2nd Cir. 2004). [2005 LR Jan]
     Activities of the U.S. Marshals Service while attempting to provide protection to a federal judge and his home involved the exercise of judgment, bringing their actions within the discretionary function exception to liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq. This entitled the U.S. government to dismissal of a claim under the Act by neighboring homeowners seeking money damages for alleged trespass, nuisance, and invasion of privacy committed by the Marshals in the course of carrying out their protective function. The judge was given 24-hour-a-day protection at his residence because of threats to him resulting from his handling of terrorism related court cases. Callahan v. United States, 329 F. Supp. 2d 404 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
     Postal inspector's undercover vehicle qualified as a "police vehicle" under a New York statute granting qualified exemptions from traffic laws from traffic laws when engaged in emergency operations. The defendant inspector did not act in "reckless disregard" of others' safety in following a person under surveillance through a red light. The U.S. government was not, therefore, liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq., for injuries to another motorist in an ensuing traffic accident. Hodder v. United States, 328 F. Supp. 335 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
    Wife who was attacked and injured by her husband when he escaped from the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after allegedly violating a domestic violence order of protection could not pursue her lawsuit against the Marshals Service and U.S. government when she failed to exhaust available administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346, 2671 et seq. She also could not pursue federal civil rights claims against federal officials under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 in the absence of any allegation that they acted under color of state law. Cureton v. U.S. Marshal Service, 322 F. Supp. 2d 23 (D.D.C. 2004). [N/R]
     Woman's claim that she was raped by a military recruiter on U.S. government premises did not entitle her to pursue liability claims against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1346(b)(1) and 2680(h). Claims for alleged negligent hiring and supervision of alleged assailant were barred because they arose from alleged intentional misconduct, coming within an "intentional tort" exclusion from the FTCA's waiver of governmental immunity. Verran v. United States, 305 F. Supp. 2d 765 (E.D. Mich. 2004). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court finds that plaintiff who was awarded $87,000 in damages for alleged battery by two police officers at veterans' hospital was improperly also awarded $49,000 in attorneys' fees. While evidence showed, for purposes of award under Federal Tort Claims Act, that officers acted "wantonly," the U.S. government did not act "wantonly" in presenting a defense against the plaintiff's claims. Stive v. U.S., No. 03-2151, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8346 (7th Cir.). [2004 LR Jun]
     Police officer's failure to exhaust available administrative remedies barred his bringing a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2675(a) against federal officers seeking emotional distress damages for their alleged failure to protect him from reprisals by targets of an investigation of police corruption. Russo v. Glasser, 279 F. Supp. 2d 126 (D. Conn. 2003). [N/R]
     In a lawsuit brought by the family of an man shot and killed by gang members after it was allegedly negligently revealed that he was an FBI informant, the right to bring the lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671-2680, accrued at the latest on the date when family members attended hearings at which the relationship between FBI agents and gang members was revealed and widely reported in the media. Accordingly, the court holds that the lawsuit should be dismissed as time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations. McIntyre v. United States, 254 F. Supp. 2d 183 (D. Mass. 2003). [N/R]
     U.S. government was not responsible, under Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(a) for the alleged intentional misconduct of informants in a case where the indictment against the plaintiff for conspiring to transfer human organs from executed Chinese prisoners for human transplantation was dismissed. Such liability under the statute was not possible when the informants were not employees acting within the scope of their employment and were not investigative or law enforcement officials. Plaintiff also failed to show that the conduct of federal agents involved in the case fell outside the scope of the "operative discretionary function exception" to liability under the statute for law enforcement actions involving an element of discretion. Wang v. U.S., No. 02-6123, 61 Fed. Appx. 757 (2nd Cir. 2003). [N/R]
     A factual issue existed as to whether a federal employee was acting within the scope of his employment when his vehicle struck a motorist's car as he was driving his own car at the time and made no effort to attend purported work-related meeting after the collision despite the drivable condition of his vehicle. Plaintiff could therefore challenge U.S. government's attempts to substitute itself as the proper defendant and have the case dismissed for the plaintiff's alleged failure to pursue administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401(b) within two years of the accident. Ware v. Doane, 227 F. Supp. 2d 169 (D. Me. 2002). [N/R]
     Former deputy U.S. Marshal's claim that the CIA and Bureau of Narcotics tested psychoactive drugs on him without his consent or knowledge was not barred by the intentional tort exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq., since they could be interpreted as asserting claims for negligent supervision. Plaintiff's claims also were not barred by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 8116 et seq. since his allegation that he was involuntarily given LSD while attending a holiday party at the Post Office as part of a CIA experiment did not relate to dangers created by his employment. Ritchie v. U.S.A., 210 F. Supp. 2d 1120 (N.D. Cal. 2002). [N/R]
     Arrestee's claims for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress growing out of his alleged wrongful arrest by the U.S. Air Force and military police officers had to be dismissed, as sovereign immunity for those claims were not waived under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2680(h). Tinch v. United States, 189 F. Supp. 2d 313 (D. Md. 2002). [N/R]]
    328:62 Federal government was not liable for officer's alleged rape of female motorist when officer's actions were outside of the scope of his employment; federal appeals court rejects "apparent authority" as a basis for liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Primeaux v. U.S., No. 97-2691, 181 F.3d 876 (8th Cir. 1999).
     329:72 An arrestee's failure to challenge a forfeiture proceeding concerning $11,000 he gathered to use for bail money precluded him from asserting, in a Federal Tort Claims Act lawsuit, that he had a property interest in the money at the time he claimed it was "illegally seized." Bazuaye v. U.S., 41 F.Supp. 2d 19 (D.D.C. 1999).
     310:151 Federal drug agents' actions in arresting the "wrong man" with the same name as that stated in an arrest warrant was protected by the "discretionary function" exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act; federal government not liable even if agents acted negligently in mistaken identity case before and after serving warrant. Mesa v. United States, 123 F.3d 1435 (11th Cir. 1997).
     283:103 Federal officers' arrest of woman with same name, social security number, birthdate, birthplace, and abdominal scar as suspect sought in arrest warrant was objectively reasonable Rodriguez v. US, 54 F.3d 41 (1st Cir. 1995).
     275:165 Trial judge did not violate plaintiff's Seventh Amendment jury trial right by awarding a lower amount against the U.S. government on Federal Tort Claims Act claim than the amount a jury assessed as damages in a federal civil rights claim brought against arresting federal officer Engle v. Mecke, 24 F.3d 133 (10th Cir. 1994).
     U.S. government liable for $779,30565 to estate and family of woman murdered by indicted federal felon released from custody in order to work as an informant for the INS; INS agents failed to adequately supervise informant, to warn murder victim or local police department of his release, or to take action to apprehend him Marin v. United States, 814 F.Supp. 1468 (E.D. Wash 1992).


Back to list of subjects             Back to Legal Publications Menu