Lockheed Aircraft Corp. v. United States

PETITIONER: Lockheed Aircraft Corp.
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Internal Revenue Service

DOCKET NO.: 81-1181
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 460 US 190 (1983)
ARGUED: Nov 30, 1982
DECIDED: Feb 23, 1983

ADVOCATES:
Carolyn F. Corwin - on behalf of the Respondent
Warner W. Gardner - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Lockheed Aircraft Corp. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 30, 1982 in Lockheed Aircraft Corp. v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 23, 1983 in Lockheed Aircraft Corp. v. United States

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

The third case, 81-1181, Lockheed Aircraft against United States comes to us from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

A civilian employee of the United States was killed in the crash of an airforce plane that had been manufactured by petitioner, Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

The Government paid benefits to the survivors under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act.

The state also recovered damages from Lockheed.

Lockheed then sought indemnity from the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

The District Court granted summary judgment for Lockheed, but the Court of Appeals reversed.

It held that the exclusive-liability provision of the Compensation Act bars all such third-party actions.

We think the Court of Appeals erred in not following Weyerhaeuser against United States, a case decided by this Court in 1963.

Accordingly, we hold that the Compensation Act does not bar Lockheed's claim to seek indemnity.

The merits of that claim are not before us.

We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals and remand for further proceedings.

Justice Rehnquist has filed a dissenting opinion in which the Chief Justice joined.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you Justice Powell.