Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Millbrook v. U.S.

 The Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives the Government’s sover­eign immunity from tort suits, but excepts from that waiver certain intentional torts, 28 U. S. C. §2680(h). Section §2680(h), in turn, con­tains a proviso that extends the waiver of immunity to claims for six intentional torts, including assault and battery, that are based on the “acts or omissions” of an “investigative or law enforcement officer” i.e., a federal officer “who is empowered by law to execute searches, to seize evidence, or to make arrests.” Petitioner Millbrook, a federal prisoner, sued the United States under the FTCA, alleging, inter alia, assault and battery by correctional officers. The District Court granted the Government summary judgment, and the Third Circuit affirmed, hewing to its precedent that the “law enforcement proviso” applies only to tortious conduct that occurs during the course of exe­cuting a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest.
Held: The law enforcement proviso extends to law enforcement officers’ acts or omissions that arise within the scope of their employment, re­gardless of whether the officers are engaged in investigative or law enforcement activity, or are executing a search, seizing evidence, or making an arrest. The proviso’s plain language supports this conclu­sion. On its face, the proviso applies where a claim arises out of one of six intentional torts and is related to the “acts or omissions” of an “investigative or law enforcement officer.” §2680(h). And by cross­referencing §1346(b), the proviso incorporates an additional require­ment that the “acts or omissions” occur while the officer is “acting within the scope of his office or employment.” §1346(b)(1) (U.S. S. Ct., 27.03.13, Millbrook v. U.S., J. Thomas, unanimous).

Action dirigée contre le gouvernement fédéral basée sur un acte illicite : immunité : cette immunité est levée de manière générale par une loi fédérale (FTCA). Certaines exceptions sont prévues dans le cas d'actes illicites intentionnels, dans le cadre desquels l'immunité est maintenue. En outre, la loi étend la levée de l'immunité s'agissant de six actes illicites intentionnels (notamment "assault and battery") commis par des représentants de la force publique dans l'exercice de leur métier de manière générale, et non seulement quand ces représentants de la force publique conduisent des fouilles, saisissent des preuves, ou exécutent une arrestation.

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