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S.R.P. v. United States

Citation: 42 ELR 20083
No. 10-4011, (3d Cir., 04/10/2012)

The Third Circuit upheld the dismissal of a mother's Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) suit against the government after her child was bitten by a barracuda while playing near the shore of Buck Island Reef National Monument in St. Croix. The mother alleged that the National Park Service (NPS) negligently failed to warn of the danger posed by barracudas to shallow water bathers. But the discretionary function exception to the FTCA immunizes the government from suit. No statute, regulation, or policy mandates specific action by NPS officials with respect to warning signs on Buck Island. And although the NPS posted warning signs for snorkelers, the agency's decision not to post additional warning signs for shoreline attacks is the kind of decision that the discretionary function exception was designed to shield from suit.