Scenario 1 Government Liability

It is a quiet predawn morning in the Seattle, WA area, and the lone FAA air traffic controller who is controlling the airspace south of the city has been on duty for seven hours. The controller’s only traffic is a Navy helicopter transiting the area westbound en route to a nearby Navy facility and a northbound private civilian airplane. The controller, having dozed off, is awakened by the ringing telephone, answers it, and learns that the two aircraft collided in flight in the controller’s airspace. There are no survivors. Investigation reveals that the two collided while in level flight at the altitude assigned to each by that controller.
Analyze the potential liability of the United States and the controller for the accident, then analyze and explain how your answer would differ if the controller had been an employee of a corporate government contractor, instead of the FAA.

Sample Solution