Hughes v. United States, 80-1812.

Decision Date21 May 1981
Docket NumberNo. 80-1812.,80-1812.
Citation662 F.2d 219
PartiesJennifer Jill HUGHES and Stephanie Rachel Hughes, infants who sue by Gloria J. Hughes, their mother and next friend and Gloria J. Hughes, Appellants, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

Thomas S. Shadrick, Norfolk, Va. (Pender, Coward, Addison & Morgan, Norfolk, Va., on brief), for appellants.

Marc Richman, Appellate Staff, Civ. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C. (Thomas S. Martin, Acting Asst. Atty. Gen., Washington, D. C., Justin W. Williams, U. S. Atty., Alexandria, Va., Anthony J. Steinmeyer, Appellate Staff, Civ. Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D. C., on brief), for appellee.

Before RUSSELL and ERVIN, Circuit Judges, and ANDERSON,* District Judge.


These consolidated suits were brought by Gloria Hughes, as mother and next friend of infant sisters Jennifer and Stephanie Hughes, against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671-2680.1 Plaintiffs sought money damages for the alleged negligence of an employee of the United States Postal Service. The district court dismissed the suits, and we affirm.

In 1974, postal employee Dennis Sullivan was arrested and charged under state law with luring a twelve year old girl into his vehicle for the purpose of taking indecent sexual liberties with her. At the time of the incident, Sullivan was dressed in his uniform but was between mail routes. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was ordered to submit to psychiatric treatment. Shortly after the sentencing, the girl's father met with postal supervisor J. T. Crosswhite and requested that Sullivan be relieved of his delivery duties. The request was denied, and Sullivan was allowed to resume his job as a carrier.

On July 3, 1979 and July 6, 1979, Sullivan, while on his route, lured Jennifer and Stephanie Hughes into his postal truck and took indecent sexual liberties with them.2 These 1979 events form the bases of plaintiffs' claims that postal supervisor Crosswhite acted negligently in failing to relieve Sullivan of his delivery duties after the 1974 incident.

The Federal Tort Claims Act abolishes sovereign immunity by allowing the United States to be sued for money damages for

personal injury ... caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.
28 U.S.C. § 1346(b).

Certain exceptions, however, have been made to the government's exposure to liability under 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), one of which prevents the government from being held liable on "any claim...

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28 cases
  • Doe Parents No. 1 v. State, Dept. of Educ.
    • United States
    • Hawaii Supreme Court
    • 27 d3 Novembro d3 2002
    ...for the Fourth Circuit had held that the plaintiffs' claim was foreclosed by its precedents, specifically Hughes v. United States, 662 F.2d 219 (4th Cir.1981) (per curiam) (affirming district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' negligence claim because it arose out of postal employee's sexual ......
  • Shearer v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • 7 d3 Março d3 1984
    ...Gibson v. U.S., 457 F.2d at 1395-96. See also Hughes v. Sullivan, 514 F.Supp. 667, 669-70 (E.D.Va.1980), aff'd sub nom., Hughes v. U.S., 662 F.2d 219, 220 (4th Cir.1981); Naisbitt v. U.S., 611 F.2d 1350, 1354-55 (10th Cir.1980); U.S. v. Shively, 345 F.2d 294, 296-97 (5th In order to withsta......
  • Mulloy v. US
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Massachusetts
    • 31 d5 Março d5 1995
    ...Garcia v. United States, 776 F.2d 116 (5th Cir.1985); Thigpen v. United States, 800 F.2d 393, 395 (4th Cir. 1986); Hughes v. United States, 662 F.2d 219 (4th Cir.1981); Hoot v. United States, 790 F.2d 836 (10th Cir.1986); Johnson v. United States, 788 F.2d 845, 850-854 (2d Cir.1986). Other ......
  • Doe v. Durtschi
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • 10 d1 Fevereiro d1 1986
    ...assault or battery committed by a government employee. See, e.g., Doe v. United States, 769 F.2d 174 (4th Cir.1985); Hughes v. United States, 662 F.2d 219 (4th Cir.1981); Naisbitt v. United States, 611 F.2d 1350 (10th Cir.1980) cert. denied 449 U.S. 885, 101 S.Ct. 240, 66 L.Ed.2d 111. Altho......
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1 books & journal articles
    • United States
    • 1 d6 Maio d6 2021
    ...v. United States, 344 F.3d 695, 697 (7th Cir. 2003); Johnson v. United States, 788 F.2d 845, 847 (2d Cir. 1986); Hughes v. United States, 662 F.2d 219, 220 (4th Cir. 1981); West v. United States, No. EDCV 15-01243, 2016 WL 1576382, at *l-2 (CD. Cal. Apr. 11, 2016); Hamburg v. U.S. Postal Se......

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