Porter v. United States, 7013

Decision Date21 December 1955
Docket NumberNo. 7013,7014.,7013
Citation228 F.2d 389
PartiesJohn A. PORTER, a minor, by his Guardian ad Litem, Mrs. Alvarene Jones, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee. Cecil W. PORTER, Appellant, v. UNITED STATES of America, Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit

John Grimball and C. T. Graydon, Columbia, S. C., for appellants.

Lester S. Jayson, Atty., Department of Justice (Warren E. Burger, Asst. Atty. Gen., N. Welch Morrisette, Jr., U. S. Atty., Irvine F. Belser, Jr., Asst. U. S. Atty., Columbia, S. C., and Paul A. Sweeney, Atty., Department of Justice, Washington, D. C., on the brief), for appellee.

Before PARKER, Chief Judge, and SOPER and DOBIE, Circuit Judges.


These suits were brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States, one by John A. Porter, a twelve year old boy, through his guardian ad litem, and one by the boy's father, to recover damages for injuries sustained by the boy in June, 1954 when a hand grenade fuse or detonator of army origin, which he had found near his home, exploded in his hand. The question for decision is whether the government was negligent in its care and custody of its explosives so that the detonator came into the boy's possession. The District Judge found no negligence on the part of the United States and dismissed the suit.

Cecil W. Porter, the father, was a sergeant in the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. The Porter family lived in a rented house located about a mile from the Fort in a civilian settlement which included a trailer camp and a number of houses occupied by civilian and Army personnel. The area had been part of a military reservation during the war, but seven years before the accident it had been turned back to private ownership and control and the occupation of the Army was confined to the Fort.

There was no public system of garbage disposal for the residents of the area, and the practice grew up of dumping garbage and household trash on the land along the roads or in the open country beyond the Porter home. There was evidence that military trucks also dumped trash and stuff occasionally in the area, but no evidence that they dumped ordinance material at any time.

In March, 1954 Mrs. Porter and a young son came across some items of military origin in the dump about 300 yards from their home. This incident was reported to Army authorities by Sergeant Porter and an investigation was...

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14 cases
  • Simmons v. U.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • December 9, 1986
    ... ... 805 F.2d 1363 ... Jerrie M. SIMMONS, Plaintiff-Appellee, ... UNITED STATES of America, Defendant-Appellant ... No. 85-3835 ... United ... 's business at the time of injury." 732 F.2d at 370 (quoting Porter v. United States, 128 F.Supp. 590, 595 (D.S.C.), aff'd, 228 F.2d 389 (4th ... ...
  • Andrews v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of South Carolina
    • September 30, 1982
    ...at the time the tort is committed. Id. at 503. It was further held, in Porter v. United States, 128 F.Supp. 590, (D.S.C.), aff'd, 228 F.2d 389 (4th Cir. 1955), that "before a master is responsible for torts of his servant, the servant must not only be acting in course of his employment, or ......
  • Woodbury v. United States
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Oregon
    • February 8, 1961
    ...dangerous instrumentality. United States v. Ure, 9 Cir., 1955, 225 F.2d 709; Porter v. United States, D.C., 128 F.Supp. 590, affirmed 4 Cir., 228 F.2d 389. The act does not impose liability without fault. Harris v. United States, 10 Cir., 1953, 205 F.2d 765. Although fraud and deceit may co......
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Mississippi
    • October 15, 1990
    ...the United States and to reach such a conclusion required "Unadulterated speculation" and "untrammeled imagination"); Porter v. United States, 228 F.2d 389 (4th Cir.1955) (plaintiff failed to meet burden of proof in showing that detonator had been deposited on a roadside dumpt as result of ......
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