Federal Tort Claims Act

30 Volume 23, April–June 2017 international law update
© 2017 International Law Group, LLC. All rights reserved. ISSN 1089-5450, ISSN 1943-1287 (on-line) | www.internationallawupdate.com
an open question under California law, however,
whether the firefighter’s rule applied to military
service members. e district court declined to
extend the firefighter’s rule beyond domestic first
responders. Cooper II, 166 F.Supp.3d at 1127.
e Court of Appeals provided no opinion as to
whether the firefighter’s rule applied to military
service members and, if so, whether it barred
Plaintiffs’ claims. e Court of Appeals affirmed
the district court’s denial of TEPCO’s motion to
dismiss. *1218
citation: Cooper v. TOKYO ELEC. POWER
COMPANY, INC., 860 F. 3d 1193 (Court of
Appeals, 9th Circuit 2017).
In action under Federal Tort Claims Act
where US State Department employee
suffered injuries in Haiti, District Of
Columbia Circuit Affirms Dismissal of
Kathey-Lee Galvin, a State Department officer,
suffered severe injuries in her diplomatic housing
when stationed overseas in Haiti. According to
the complaint, Galvin worked as a political officer
with the State Department and was assigned to the
United States Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
e State Department provided Galvin and her
husband Blaise Pellegrin with diplomatic housing
in the city. Galvin and Pellegrin brought suit
against the United States, alleging one count of
negligence for the faulty construction and design
of their diplomatic housing. ey sued under the
Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), which waives the
United States’ sovereign immunity for torts when
the “United States, if a private person, would be
liable to the claimant.” 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b)(1).
e district court held that it lacked jurisdiction
over Galvin and Pellegrin’s action pursuant to the
foreign country exception. Defendants now appeal
the district court’s dismissal of their action.
ey contend, in particular, that their
diplomatic housing which the State Department
leased on their behalf was controlled by the
United States Embassy in Haiti. Court expressed
that even assuming (without deciding) that all
overseas diplomatic housing should receive the
same treatment under the FTCA as a United
States embassy, Galvin and Pellegrin’s argument
cannot be squared with precedent in the decision of
Macharia v. United States, 334 F.3d 61, 69 (D.C.
Cir. 2003). e claims in Macharia arose from
the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy
in Nairobi, Kenya. One of the questions in that
case concerned whether the United States could

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