Supreme Court issues ruling in case concerning Federal Tort Claims Act

On February 25, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued an opinion in the case Brownback v. King, which concerned the judgment bar of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The case originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and was argued before SCOTUS on November 9, 2020.

In a unanimous ruling, SCOTUS reversed the 6th Circuit’s ruling and held that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan’s order in the case was a judgment based on the merits, triggering the judgment bar and disqualifying the plaintiff’s claims against the federal officers. Previously, the 6th Circuit had reversed the district court’s order, holding that the plaintiff’s FTCA claims did not trigger the judgment bar.

Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the majority opinion of the court and Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a concurring opinion. Justice Thomas has authored two majority opinions so far during the current term.

To date, the court had issued opinions in 16 cases for the current term. Four cases were decided without argument.

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