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Absolute Immunity For State-Law Torts Under Westfall V. Erwin: How Much Discretion Is Enough?, Karl R. Rábago Nov 1988

Absolute Immunity For State-Law Torts Under Westfall V. Erwin: How Much Discretion Is Enough?, Karl R. Rábago

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

The plaintiff who seeks to maintain an action in tort against a federal employee has basically two choices. First, after complying with various procedural requirements, the plaintiff may initiate suit under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) against the United States. The act is a waiver of sovereign immunity and, in spite of the existence of exceptions to its coverage, has generally been interpreted broadly.

The other alternative available to the plaintiff is a suit against the employee in his individual capacity based upon either state-law or constitutional tort. One of the employee's first lines of defense against such actions …