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United States v. Olson

Docket No.: 04-759
Certiorari Granted: Mar 7 2005
Argued: October 12, 2005
Decided: November 8, 2005


Economic Activity, Nongovernmental Liability

PartyNames: United States v. Joseph Olson, et al.
Petitioner: United States
Respondent: Joseph Olson, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

United States
Joseph Olson, et al.
546 U.S. 43 (2005)

With certain exceptions, the Federal Tort Claims Act waives the sovereign immunity of the United States for specified torts of federal employees acting within the scope of their employment, allowing liability "in the same manner and to the same extent as a private individual under like circumstances." 28 U.S.C. 2674. The Act also vests jurisdiction in federal district courts to hear such tort claims, "under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred." 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1).

Question Presented:

The question presented is: Whether the liability of the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act with respect to safety inspections is the same as that of private individuals under like circumstances or, as the Ninth Circuit held, the same as that of state and municipal entities under like circumstances.


Did the Federal Tort Claims Act waive the United States' sovereign immunity in cases where local law would make a state or municipal entity liable?

Holding: vacated and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Opinion By:

Read opinion

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