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UNITED STATES V. SECKINGER, 397 U. S. 203 (1970)

U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Seckinger, 397 U.S. 203 (1970)

United States v. Seckinger

No. 395

Argued January 14, 1970

Decided March 9, 1970

397 U.S. 203


An employee of respondent contractor was injured while engaging in work that respondent was performing for the Government under a fixed-price contract providing that the private contractor "shall be responsible for all damages to persons or property that occur as a result of his fault or negligence. . . ." In a suit against the Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act, the employee was awarded damages based upon the Government's negligence. Thereafter, the Government brought this action for indemnification, alleging that the contractor's negligence was solely responsible for the employee's injuries. The District Court granted respondent's motion to dismiss, in part on the ground, thereafter sustained by the Court of Appeals, that the contract clause was not broad enough to permit indemnification of the Government for its own negligence, which had substantially contributed to the injury.

Held: Though the Government, under the contract clause involved here, cannot recover for its own negligence, it is entitled to indemnity on a comparative basis to the extent that it can prove that respondent's negligence contributed to the employee's injuries. Pp. 397 U. S. 209-217.

408 F.2d 140, reversed and remanded.

Page 397 U. S. 204

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