Smith v. Clinton, No. 17-5133 (D.C. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs, parents of two State Department employees that died during the September 11, 2012 attacks on United States facilities in Benghazi, Libya, filed suit against former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for common-law torts based on her use of a private email server in conducting State Department affairs while Secretary of State and public statements about the cause of the attacks she made in her personal capacity while a presidential candidate. The DC Circuit affirmed the substitution of the United States as the defendant on the claims involving the email server and the dismissal of the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The court held that any harm allegedly caused by Clinton's email communications was within the scope of her employment and thus the United States was properly substituted; the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the Federal Employees Liability Reform and Tort Compensation Act (Westfall Act), 28 U.S.C. 2679, covered claims because plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. 2675(a); and even assuming the truth of the alleged falsity of Clinton's statements, the district court did not err in dismissing the remaining tort claims for defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress (in relevant part) for failure to state a claim.