In May 2019, the state’s high court issued a written opinion in a Texas wrongful death case discussing whether an off-duty officer could be held individually liable after he shot and killed a suspect while attempting an arrest outside the officer’s jurisdiction. Under the state’s election-of-remedies provision of the Texas Tort Claims Act, the court determined that the officer could not be held liable in his individual capacity.
Under the election-of-remedies provision of the Texas Tort Claims Act, government employees cannot be held individually liable for injuries they cause to others under certain circumstances. Specifically, an injured victim cannot hold a government employee personally liable when: 1.) the employee’s actions were conducted within the scope of their employment, and 2.) the case could have been brought against the government.
According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiffs’ son was shot and killed by an off-duty officer (the defendant) during an attempted arrest that occurred outside the defendant’s jurisdiction. The plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the officer in his individual capacity.