Who And Where To Sue Under The Federal Tort Claims Act

We have blogged in the past about some of the unique provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and how they pertain to tort claims against the United States government. As an example, one unique provision is that no claim can be sued against the federal agency per se but instead only against the United States. In any lawsuit against the federal government in which a tort has occurred, the named defendant must be the United States of America. Thus, in a case where a postal driver runs a stop sign and injures someone or a drunk federal agent while on the job causes a collision with serious injuries, the lawsuit must be filed against the United States government. Of course, there are other unique provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act which require pre-suit notification of a claim but nonetheless, if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, the claim must be filed against the United States of America in United States District Court.
In terms of where a case should be sued, this is another unique provision of the Federal Tort Claims Act. The claim can be filed either where the tort occurred or where the plaintiff resides. For example, if a tort occurs in one state and the plaintiff moves and wishes to file the lawsuit against the United States of America in the district where they then reside, they can do so. The issue is which jurisdiction might be more favorable for the claim. Some jurisdictions are more conservative than others and some jurisdictions might be more favorable with respect to claims against the federal government based on the demographics of the federal bench in the area where the claim can be filed. Thus, in any of these cases, counsel for the victim of a federal tort claim should consider not only the proper venue but must make sure that all pre-suit filing requirements are met and, when suit is filed, that it is filed solely against the United States of America.

Contact Information