Simmons v. Himmelreich

28 USC 2676, which bars tort judgments against individual federal employees when a judgment has been entered in favor of the federal government for the same tort, does not apply to a case excepted from the Federal Tort Claims Act under the discretionary function exception; so the plaintiff, having lost against the government, remains free to sue the individual officers or employees for the same tort committed in the exercise of their discretionary functions.  Under 28 USC 2676, a judgment in favor of the government in a suit brought against it under the Federal Tort Claims Act bars any later suit on the same claim against the individual federal officers or employees who committed the alleged tort.  However, 28 USC 2680 excepts from the provisions of chapter 171 (of which section 2676 is a part) various types of suits, including suits arising from the exercise of a discretionary function.  Following the plain wording of section 2680, this decision holds that section 2676’s judgment bar rule does not apply to a case excepted from the FTCA under the discretionary function exception.  So the plaintiff, having lost against the government, remains free to sue the individual officers or employees for the same tort committed in the exercise of their discretionary functions.

United States Supreme Court (Sotomayor, J.); June 6, 2016; 2016 WL 3128838

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