Tobar v. United States, No. 12-56298 (9th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, the crew of an Ecuadorian fishing boat, filed suit against the United States, alleging that the United States harmed plaintiffs and their property when the Coast Guard boarded the boat in search of drugs. The court held that, on the evidence submitted by the parties, reciprocity with Ecuador existed; the discretionary function exception applied generally to plaintiffs' claims because most of the actions by the Coast Guard were discretionary; the government could have violated its non-discretionary policy of paying damages to the owner of the boat; and to the extent that plaintiffs could establish that the United States violated that mandatory obligation, sovereign immunity did not bar this action. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings.