Ignacio v. United States, No. 10-2149
Decided Mar. 16, 2012
A Pentagon police officer, Kevin Lane, allegedly assaulted Nicholas Ignacio, a contract security officer assigned to the Pentagon, while they were stationed at a security checkpoint for Pentagon employees. Ignacio sued the United States for assault under the Federal Tort Claims Act. The United States moved for summary judgment on the grounds that because Lane was not “engaged in investigative or law enforcement activities” when he allegedly assaulted Ignacio, the United States retained sovereign immunity from Ignacio’s claims. The district court granted the motion. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded. The Fourth Circuit held that 28 U.S.C. § 2680(h), “the law enforcement proviso,” which preserves the waiver of immunity when certain named intentional torts are “acts or omissions of investigative or law enforcement officers of the United States Government,” waived the United States’ sovereign immunity regardless of whether Lane was engaged in an investigative or law enforcement activity when he commits an assault.
-Sara I. Salehi