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Orff v. United States

Docket No.: 03-1566
Certiorari Granted: Oct 12 2004
Argued: February 23, 2005
Decided: June 23, 2005


Economic Activity, Natural Resources, Administrative Procedure, Federal Tort Claims, Natural Resources, Takings Clause, equitable relief, immunity from suit, property rights, sovereign immunity, threatened species

PartyNames: Francis A. Orff, et al. v. United States, et al.
Petitioner: Francis A. Orff, et al.
Respondent: United States, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Citation: 358 F3d 1137
Supreme Court Docket

Francis A. Orff, et al.
United States, et al.
545 U.S. 596 (2005)
Question Presented:

The question presented is whether farmers are "intended" third-party beneficiaries of their irrigation district's water service and repayment contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and, therefore, entitled to sue the Bureau for breach thereof, as the Federal Circuit has long held, or merely "incidental" third-party beneficiaries and, therefore, not so entitled, as the Ninth Circuit holds in the decision below.


Did the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982 waive the United States' sovereign immunity from breach of contract suits?

Orff v. United States

February 23, 2005

Holding: affirmed
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By: Justice Clarence Thomas

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Orff v. United States
Case Documents

1Opinion in Orff v. United States
2Slip Opinion in Orff v. United States
Additional documents for this case are pending review.