Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Tort Claim against Alaska City for Actions of Tribal Police

Here are the materials in M.J. v. United States:

CA9 Opinion

MJ Opening Brief

City of Quinhagak Answer Brief

MJ Reply Brief

The court’s syllabus:

The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in this diversity action seeking to hold the Alaskan city of Quinhagak liable for injuries caused by the negligence of Derrick Johnson, a Native Village of Kwinhagak tribal police officer.

The panel noted that under Alaska state law, an employee’s immunity from tort liability precludes an employer from being held vicariously liable for the employee’s negligence. The panel held that Johnson was immune from individual liability for plaintiffs’ tort claims, both under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the tribe’s sovereign immunity. Accordingly, because plaintiffs sought to hold the City vicariously liable on a non-delegable duty theory for the negligent conduct of an immune independent contractor, plaintiffs’ claims against the City failed.