In action under Federal Tort Claims Act where US State Department employee suffered injuries in Haiti, District Of Columbia Circuit Affirms Dismissal of lawsuit

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Date: April-June 2017
From: International Law Update(Vol. 23, Issue 2)
Publisher: American Bar Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 866 words
Lexile Measure: 1360L

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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. The 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. They 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. [section] 1346(b)(1). The 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.

They 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...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A550996288