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Hart v. US, No. 10-1604

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By FindLaw Staff on January 12, 2011 1:08 PM

Wrongful Death Action Against Bureau of Indian Affairs

In Hart v. US, No. 10-1604, a wrongful death action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), asserting that a Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement officer failed adequately to supervise, secure, and detain plaintiff's son after his arrest for federal sex crimes, resulting in his suicide, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint where a federal law enforcement officer's on-the-spot decisions concerning how to effectuate an arrest -- including how best to restrain, supervise, control or trust an arrestee -- fell within the discretionary function exception to the FTCA absent a specific mandatory directive to the contrary.

 

As the court wrote:  "Bonita Hart brought this wrongful death action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346, 2671-80, against the United States. Hart asserted that a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement officer failed adequately to supervise, secure, and detain her son, Kenneth Block, after Block's arrest for federal sex crimes, resulting in Block's suicide. The district court1 sua sponte dismissed Hart's complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding the discretionary function exception, 28 U.S.C. § 2680(a), to the FTCA's general waiver of sovereign immunity, 28 U .S.C. § 1346(b), barred Hart's claims. Hart appeals, and we affirm."

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