Logourl black
From our private database of 14,000+ case briefs...

Johnson v. United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
949 F.2d 332 (1991)


Facts

A mountain climber died of hypothermia in the Grand Teton National Park (park) after straying from a trail, falling, and sustaining a head injury. The climber’s body was found by a helicopter the morning after members of the climbing party requested assistance from a park ranger. The climber’s survivors (survivors) (plaintiffs) sued the United States government (government) (defendant) in district court, claiming that the National Park Service (NPS) was negligent in failing to adequately regulate mountain climbing in the park, and in failing to conduct a search effort immediately after the climbing party’s request for assistance. The survivors also claimed that the discretionary-function exception of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and 2671-80, did not apply to NPS decisions regulating mountain climbing, because the decisions did not implicate social, economic, or political-party considerations. No federal statutes or regulations specified how the NPS should regulate mountain climbing, and the NPS did not have a mountain-climbing policy or climbing regulations. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the government. The survivors appealed. The park superintendent justified the park’s decision not to regulate mountain climbing based on social- and economic-policy reasons that included: (1) the fact that mountain climbing was an inherently dangerous activity, (2) the need to conserve park staff and economic resources for availability during emergency situations, (3) the economic impracticability or impossibility of testing climber competency and of monitoring equipment use, and (4) the fact that park visitors valued mountain climbing as an unregulated experience.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Brorby, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 173,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.