The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed that Montana landowners’ liable claims against the U.S. Forest Service were barred by the discretionary function exception, determining sufficient consultation with landowners had occurred during a massive fire.

In a March 28 opinion, the Ninth Circuit appeals court affirmed a district court’s ruling that landowners’ claims holding the Forest Service was liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for failing to consult with them about fire-suppression activities on and near their properties, were barred by the discretionary function exception.

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