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Starrett v. United States

ELR Citation: 18 ELR 21198
Nos. No. 87-4169, 847 F.2d 539/27 ERC 1920/(9th Cir., 05/23/1988)

The court holds that the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) waives the United States Navy's sovereign immunity from a suit alleging that the Navy caused drinking water contamination while extracting explosives from missiles. The FTCA's exception for discretionary functions is overcome when the government has violated a specific mandatory requirement. Executive Order No. 11258, signed by the president in 1965, required that facilities constructed after it went into effect include secondary treatment for wastewater and an outright ban on wastewater discharge in concentrations that are hazardous to health. Thus, the executive order is a specific and mandatory requirement applicable to the Navy's activities, and the court remands the case to the trial court to determine whether the executive order was violated.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Appellants
David A. Bricklin
Bricklin & Gendler
1424 4th Ave., Seattle WA 98101
(206) 621-8868

Counsel for Defendants-Appellees
David S. Fishback
Civil Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 724-6715

Before Beezer and Hall, JJ.