Brownback v. King

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: March 30, 2020
  • Case #: 19-546
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 917 F.3d 409 (6th Cir. 2019).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether 28 U.S.C. §2676 of the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA") bars a Bivens action involving the same claimant, injuries, and government employees of an FTCA claim in which the United States obtained a final judgment in its favor on the ground that a private person would not exist as liable under state tort law for the injuries alleged.

Petitioners, an FBI Special Agent and a Grand Rapids Police Officer, misidentified Respondent while searching for a fugitive, and a violent altercation occurred when Respondent resisted arrest. Respondent sued the United States under the FTCA and Petitioners under a Bivens action. The district court ruled in favor of the government and Petitioners, reasoning with respect to the FTCA that Petitioners would receive immunity under Michigan law by acting within the scope of their authority and reasoning with respect to the Bivens claims that Petitioners had not violated Respondent’s constitutional rights. Respondent only appealed his Bivens claims, leaving the district court’s FTCA judgment final. Petitioners argued that the FTCA’s judgment bar foreclosed Respondent’s Bivens claims. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Petitioner’s arguments and remanded for further proceedings, reasoning that 28 U.S.C. §2676’s judgment bar did not apply because Respondent’s failure to state a claim entailed that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, meaning that the prior judgment did not exist as a disposition on the merits. Petitioners now argue to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Sixth Circuit’s holding conflicts with Court precedent, decisions by other Circuits, and the plain language of 28 U.S.C. §2676 by reading a failure to prove an FTCA claim as depriving the court of jurisdiction, instead of a decision on the merits.

Advanced Search

Back to Top