In Freer Volunteer Fire Department v. Wallace, a Texas appellate court considered a sovereign immunity case. The case arose when an ambulance driver was driving a man who was suspected to be having a heart attack to the hospital in an ambulance owned by the Freer Volunteer Fire Department. The ambulance hit the plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff’s daughter was a passenger in the car.
The plaintiff sued the driver and the city, claiming that the driver’s negligence injured her and her daughter. The driver filed an answer, claiming to be in the course and scope of his employment as a volunteer fireman and arguing he was immune from suit. The plaintiff added the Freer Volunteer Fire Department as a defendant. It filed an answer, also claiming that the driver was in the course and scope of his employment as a volunteer for it and that it was immune from suit. The plaintiff amended her petition again to drop the city as a defendant.
The driver and the Freer Volunteer Fire Department moved jointly to dismiss the driver under section 101.106(e) of the Texas Tort Claims Act (“Act”). This code section specifies that if a lawsuit is filed against a governmental unit and its employees, the employees must be immediately dismissed once the governmental unit files a motion for dismissal. In this case, the motion stated the driver was a volunteer employee and asked for dismissal. The plaintiff did amend and dropped the driver as a defendant.