Federal Tort Claim Arising on Colville Job Site May Proceed against US

Here are the materials in Farmer v. United States (E.D. Wash.):

14 US Motion to Dismiss

22 Opposition

27 US Reply

34 DCT Order

An excerpt:

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages for injuries sustained as a result of alleged negligence by Defendant Ron Shaffer. According to Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (ECF No.20), he was working for Jones Brothers Construction in Inchelium, Washington on October 25, 2011. Plaintiff was part of a construction crew that was building a pole-style structure for the local Fire Hall/EMT Unit. The structure was being constructed pursuant to a contract between Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Indian Reservation and Jones Brothers Construction. Plaintiff alleges that on that day, “[a]n EMT on duty for the Colville Confederated Tribes EMT Unit, Ronald L. Shaffer, took it upon himself to [2]  help the construction crew.” According to the First Amended Complaint, while Plaintiff was on a ladder setting girder trusses, “Mr. Shaffer negligently swung a sledge hammer and struck [Plaintiff’s] left hand with the sledge hammer causing [a] fracture to his long finger and other injuries.”

Plaintiff sues the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 26 U.S.C. §2674. He sues Mr. Shaffer and his wife, presumably, for common law negligence under this court’s supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. §1367(a). Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), the United States now moves to dismiss the FTCA claim against it, asserting there is no subject matter jurisdiction because Mr. Shaffer was not acting pursuant to the contract between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Colville Confederated Tribes, and furthermore, was not acting within the scope of his employment with the Tribes.