Evans v. United States, No. 16-2423 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
The federal government’s sovereign immunity, as exemplified by the discretionary function exception, pretermitted Appellant’s effort to recover damages under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for the loss of twenty-five of his shade trees.
Appellant instituted this FTCA action alleging that twenty-five of his maple trees had been chopped down without his permission. The trees were removed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) pursuant to a quarantine order entered by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) in an effort to combat a bug infestation. The magistrate judge entered summary judgment in favor of the government, concluding that the discretionary function exception to liability under the FTCA barred Appellant’s lawsuit. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that APHIS’s decision to cut down Appellant’s trees without first securing his permission constituted a policy-driven exercise of discretion and therefore fell under the discretionary function exception.