Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted


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Millbrook v. United States

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: September 25, 2012
Case #: 11-10362
Court Below: Unpublished (3d Cir. 2012).
Full Text Opinion: www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/121531np.pdf

Tort Law: Whether 28 U.S.C. ยงยง1346(b) and 2680(h) waive the sovereign immunity of the United States for intentional torts committed by prison guards who are acting within the scope of their employment but are not exercising authority to "execute searches, to seize evidence or to make arrests for violations of Federal law."

Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) the United States waives sovereign immunity for intentional torts committed by investigative law enforcement officers. Petitioner is a federal prisoner who claims correctional officers sexually assaulted him and threatened him if he reported the incident. An internal investigation and medical assessment found Petitioner’s allegations to be unsubstantiated.

The US District Court granted the government’s motion for summary judgment because Respondent’s claim was not cognizable under 28 U.S.C. §2680(h) since the alleged incident didn’t occur during an arrest, search or seizure. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari and limited the parties to the issue of sovereign immunity for prison guards’ actions during their employment but not while executing searches, seizures of evidence or arrests for Federal law violations.