Who is Greg Herden and Why Does He Matter?
Posted by Erik Bergs on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:00 AM By Erik Bergs / May 14, 2014 Comment
overturned that decision. The next step was the Supreme Court. The government, in the various arenas waged a two-prong attack: to both claim innocence and contest Herden's very right to sue for damages. Jeff Eckland, a Minneapolis-based attorney representing Herden, explained why he feels the trial is justified and necessary (in terms of the Federal Tort Claims Act "FTCA") to Minnesota Connected:
"Congress intended for plaintiffs to be able to recover damages against the United States under ordinary principles of negligence, as long as such recovery doesn’t interfere with the type of discretionary decision-making typical of that engaged in by legislative bodies." "The conduct at issue here – requirements dictated by a state grazing plan – is not the kind of decision-making that Congress intended to immunize in the FTCA."But the Supreme Court (earlier this month) denied hearing the case or those arguments. It set a wider precedent of protection for the Federal Government. No longer, it seems, can citizens sue for losses on the grounds of negligence. Negligence is somehow (this point remains rather unexplained) being blanketed under policy protection (made to prevent lawsuits against "bad laws") for legislators from the point of view of SCOTUS. Eckland explained further:
"The wider implications of the Court’s denial of the Herdens’ Petition for Certiorari are that federal courts will continue to dismiss, on average, over 70% of all civil actions commenced against the Federal Government sounding in negligence before the plaintiff will ever have its day in court."
"I’m afraid that the High Court missed a golden opportunity to correctly interpret Congressional intent underlying the enactment of the Federal Tort Claims Act."With what seems like endless expansion of funding and programs it's not hard to imagine a plethora of ways that government negligence and bad advice could go terribly wrong (especially in the field of technology). The Supreme Court has likely not heard the last of metaphorical Greg Herdens.