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Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Sovereign Immunity and Dalehite

With all of the attention now being given to qualified immunity, let's not forget that sovereign immunity (both at the state and federal level) also bars many lawsuits that ought to go forward in the interests of justice.

One case that I periodically use in class is Dalehite v. United States, a 1953 Supreme Court case that invoked sovereign immunity over one of Justice Robert Jackson's crackerjack dissents. Dalehite came to mind today because the facts are almost identical to what happened in Beirut yesterday. A large stash of ammonium nitrate was negligently stored in a port warehouse as part of a government aid program. There was an explosion of the nitrate that (in Dalehite) killed over 500 people. The estates and survivors sued the United States for damages and lost. The opinions (especially Justice Jackson's) are worth your time. 

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on August 5, 2020 at 07:34 AM | Permalink


Absolutely so. Worth every moment of reading. One may wonder by the way:

Much less material exploded in Texas city, but, far greater dead in numbers(560 v. 100 so far).

By the way, one may reach the ruling, here:



Posted by: El roam | Aug 5, 2020 10:48:14 AM

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