Professor Rick Peltz-Steele recorded an audio commentary for the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies about an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court involving tort law and sovereign immunity.
On January 14, the Court heard oral argument in the Court in the case of Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority. Plaintiff Thacker was seriously injured in a fatal boating accident on the Tennessee River, and he sued the federal government in tort law.
Professor Peltz-Steele explained on his blog, The Savory Tort, in January: “The case compels the Court to analyze what, if any, governmental immunity is afforded to a range of New Deal entities, such as the TVA, which Congress broadly authorized ‘to sue and be sued,’ decades before the Federal Tort Claims Act came into being.”
In his post-argument podcast, Professor Peltz-Steele reported that the advocates refused to be moved off of their respective positions. The Court seemed frustrated that neither counsel could be enticed by a possible middle position, which would define sovereign immunity according to governmental or commercial context.
The commentary is part of the Federalist Society’s ongoing coverage of the Supreme Court through the SCOTUScast series. Earlier this year, Professor Peltz-Steele contributed a pre-argument narrative for a video about the case, part of the Federalist Society’s SCOTUSbrief series. Professor Peltz-Steele teaches 1L tort law at UMass Law.