The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:
Thomas F. Jones was the Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the
Springfield, Illinois, office of the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) on October 17, 1986. Shortly after 1:00
a.m., on Interstate 55 just south of Springfield, Jones struck
an automobile driven by Kerri W. Snodgrass in which Stacey L.
Becker was a passenger.
Based upon the police reports, interrogatories, and
statements by both Plaintiffs and Defendant, the events leading
up to and following this collision are as follows.
On the evening of October 16, 1986, Jones left work at the
FBI office in Springfield driving a Government-owned
automobile. As the SAC, Jones was issued a radio-equipped
vehicle for his use because he was "on-call" 24 hours a day and
often would proceed directly from his home or other location to
the office or crime scene in the course of his duties. After
leaving the office, Jones stopped for dinner then proceeded to
a Bar and Grill in downtown Springfield called "Play it Again
Sam." Five hours later, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Jones left
the bar and proceeded to drive south out on Interstate 55.
Slightly north of the Toronto Road exit located at mile
marker 91, Jones' vehicle collided with the rear-end of the
vehicle occupied by Snodgrass and Becker. Both vehicles pulled
off the Interstate at an exit and stopped. The Plaintiffs
copied the license number of Jones' vehicle as Defendant was
getting out of his car. Jones then began walking toward
Plaintiffs' car and reached inside his suit jacket. Plaintiffs,
fearing that Jones was reaching for a gun, left the scene and
proceeded directly to the Illinois State Police District 09
Headquarters nearby, arriving at 1:18 a.m.
At approximately 4:00 a.m. Trooper Kraft located a vehicle
bearing the license number provided by Plaintiffs. The officer
observed that the vehicle had front-end damage. Trooper
Tarkington then located Jones who initially denied having been
in an accident. However, when confronted with the damage to his
car, Jones recanted and stated that he remembered hitting
another vehicle on Interstate 55.
Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed an action against Jones on April
28, 1987, in Sangamon County Circuit Court for injuries and
damages they sustained as a result of the collision. Jones
sought to remove the action to this Court pursuant to the
Federal Drivers Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2679(b)-(e), which was part of
the Federal Tort Claims Act, id. § 2671 et seq.
On July 13, 1988, this Court held that Jones was not acting
within the scope of his employment at the time of the accident
and remanded the case to state court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c).
Jones' motion for reconsideration was subsequently
denied on the basis of lack of jurisdiction. See New Orleans
Public Serv., Inc. v. Majoue, 802 F.2d 166, 167 (5th Cir.
Four months after we remanded this case to state court,
Congress amended the Federal Tort Claims Act and vested
authority for determining whether an employee was acting within
the scope of his office or employment solely with the Attorney
General.*fn2 Jones' request to the Attorney General for
certification pursuant to
§ 2679(d)(2) *fn3 was denied. Upon denial of his request by
the Attorney General Jones filed a petition with the state
court pursuant to § 2679(d)(3) seeking certification that he
was acting within the scope of his employment at the time of
the accident. The Attorney General has now removed Jones'
petition to this Court pursuant to § 2679(d)(3).*fn4
Jones' first argument in his petition for certification is
that this Court lacked authority to consider the question of
whether he acted within the scope of his employment after the
Attorney General removed this suit and certified that he was
within the scope of his employment. This argument is completely
meritless. The present version of § 2679 was not signed into
law until November, 1988, four months after this case was
remanded. The prior version of § 2679, known as the Driver's
Act, explicitly required remand whenever a court found that an
individual had acted outside the scope of his employment.*fn5
In our prior order remanding this case to the state court, we
held that Jones was acting outside the scope of his employment
at the time of the accident and could not shield "himself
behind the United States Government for actions occurring in
his personal life. . . ." Jones now wishes to reargue this
question in the hope that he will obtain a different result.
Thus, we must first ...