Brief Fact Summary.
The United States sued Standard Oil Co. of California to recover amounts it paid for wages and hospitalization expenses for a soldier who was injured due to Standard Oil’s employee’s alleged negligence. At issue was Standard Oil’s liability for interference with the government-solider relationship and whether state law was determinative on this issue.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Interferences with the relationship between persons in service and the federal government are fundamentally derived from federal sources and governed by federal authority.
Whether state law is to be applied is a question of federal policy, affecting not only the federal judicial establishment but also the federal government's legal interests and relations.View Full Point of Law
A United States soldier was injured after being struck by a truck driven by a Standard Oil employee. The United States sued Standard Oil Co. of California to recover amounts it paid for the soldier’s wages and hospitalization expenses. At issue was Standard Oil’s liability for interference with the government-solider relationship. The Supreme Court considered whether state law was determinative on this issue.
The government-solider relationship is exclusively a creation of federal law; the government’s right to be indemnified in circumstances such as the one presented should not vary depending on the differing rules of different states. In this regard, the exercise of judicial power to establish a new type of tort liability would be an intrusion by the Court on an area for action by Congress.