Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
October 31, 1984, Argued ; December 31, 1984, Decided
[*92] WILKEY, Senior Circuit Judge:
This case arises out of the crash of an Air New Zealand aircraft into Mount Erebus, Antarctica, on 28 November 1979. All [*93] persons on board were killed. On 12 January 1983 plaintiffs filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking recovery against the United States for wrongful death under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). 1 Plaintiffs' amended complaint ultimately [**2] alleged negligence of United States Navy Air Traffic Controllers at McMurdo Naval Air Station, Antarctica, as well as negligence in the selection, training, and supervision of the navy personnel at McMurdo Base by officials of the Department of Defense.
The United States filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1), (3), and (6), claiming that the District Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction, that plaintiffs had failed to state a cause of action upon which relief could be granted, and that venue was improper. The primary basis for the motion was the "foreign country" exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act. 2 ] This exception removes from the scope of the FTCA "any claim arising in a foreign country." 3
[**3] The issue before the District Court was one of first impression: Is Antarctica, a continent which is not now subject to the sovereignty of any nation, a "foreign country" within the meaning of the FTCA? By interlocutory order on 25 June 1984 the District Court denied the government's motion to dismiss, 592 F. Supp. 780, and certified this case for consideration by this Court in conformity with 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). The government sought permission to appeal, which we granted.
To resolve the question before us, we must deal with three broad issues. The first issue is whether the District Court has subject matter jurisdiction. This issue hinges on a determination of whether Antarctica is a foreign country within the meaning of the FTCA. The second issue is whether the venue rules of the FTCA have been satisfied. The final issue involves a determination of which forum's law to apply. Our analysis of these issues leads us to affirm the interlocutory order of the District Court.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
756 F.2d 91 *; 1984 U.S. App. LEXIS 15540 **; 244 U.S. App. D.C. 70
Martin John Beattie, et al. v. United States of America, Appellant
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 82-03520).
foreign country, cases, omissions, venue, act or omission, Treaty, headquarters, district court, choice of law, occurring, sovereignty, proximate, purposes, choice-of-law, cause of action, training, courts, proximate cause, negligent act, unitary, air traffic, concurrence, principles, territorial, Station, present case, tort claim, allegations, Dependency, parties
Administrative Law, Sovereign Immunity, International Law, Individuals & Sovereign States, General Overview, Torts, Procedural Matters, Commencement & Prosecution, Venue, Civil Procedure, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Jurisdiction Over Actions, Preliminary Considerations, Venue, Individual Defendants, Public Entity Liability, Liability, Federal Tort Claims Act, Exclusions From Liability, Foreign Countries, International Trade Law, Dispute Resolution, International Commercial Arbitration, Arbitration, Jurisdiction, Criminal Law & Procedure, Jurisdiction & Venue, Multiparty Litigation, Supplemental Jurisdiction, Exclusive Jurisdiction, Conflict of Law, Jurisdiction, Federal & State Interrelationships, Choice of Law, Forum & Place