Articles Posted in GOVERNMENT LIABILITY

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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In DeLoach v. Elliott et al., 2011 Ga. LEXIS 381 (2011), a City of Waynesboro, Georgia, police officer, while on routine patrol in his city-owned vehicle, rear-ended Plaintiff’s vehicle. Plaintiff sued the officer both in his official and individual capacities, and the City of Waynesboro. The Court granted summary judgment to the City and to the Officer in his official capacity for the failure of Plaintiff to comply with the ante litem requirement. The only issue on Appeal was the Trial Court’s ruling that the officer was protected from suit in his individual or official capacities by O.C.G.A. §36-92-3(a).
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

Plaintiff’s decedent was arrested by the Pike County Sheriff’s Department for simple battery after an episode of domestic violence. At the Pike County Jail, officials determined that plaintiff’s decedent, Brandon Gish, was suicidal. Because Pike County lacked appropriate staff and medical personnel to handle detainees with mental health problems, they decided to transfer Gish to the Clayton County Jail. On December 10, 2003, Deputy William Gilmer transported Gish to the Clayton County Jail in his marked patrol car. At the time of the transfer, Deputy Gilmer was aware that Gish was being transferred to Clayton County specifically because officials thought he might be suicidal. Deputy Gilmer handcuffed Gish behind his back, placed him in the rear of his patrol car, fastened Gish’s seatbelt and drove to the Clayton County Jail. The front and back seats of the patrol car were separated by a partition bolted into place with a sliding Plexiglas window. When the deputy opened the door to unbuckle Gish upon arrival at the Clayton County Jail, Deputy Gilmer saw that Gish had managed to maneuver his hands, while cuffed, to the front of his body and unbuckle his seatbelt himself.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

As an agency of the state, the Georgia Department of Transportation (“DOT”) is entitled to sovereign immunity except to the extent sovereign immunity has been waived by the provisions of the Georgia Tort Claims Act (“GTCA”). See Georgia Military College v. Santamorena, 237 Ga. App. 58, 61; O.C.G.A. § 50-21-21. Under the GTCA, the State has agreed to waive sovereign immunity for the torts of state officials and employees subject to certain exceptions and limitations. O.C.G.A. §§ 50-21-23 and 50-21-24. O.C.G.A. § 50-21-24 enumerates 13 exceptions to the State’s waiver of sovereign immunity. In DOT v. Miller, 2009 Ga. App. LEXIS 1293 (November 10, 2009), DOT argued that the “discretionary function” exception to the State’s waiver of sovereign immunity barred Plaintiff’s recovery. The Court of Appeals rejected that argument.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

In Williams v. Baker County, 2009 Ga. App. LEXIS 1110 (September 22, 2009), Defendant William Land admitted causing an accident that injured Plaintiff when his vehicle struck her vehicle.
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Posted by Susan J. Levy

Since 1992, the State of Georgia, including all State agencies like the State Department of Human Resources or Department of Transportation, is entitled to sovereign immunity except to the extent sovereign immunity has been waived by the provisions of the Georgia Tort Claims Act (“GTCA”). [See also A Practitioner’s View of the Georgia Tort Claims Act, Georgia State Bar Journal (1992)]
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