Covid-19 Safety Protocols Are Being Followed - Free Consultation Via Phone or Video Conferencing - Learn More

Articles Tagged with Government liability

Published on:

city-road-landscape-landmark-158854-200x300The Supreme Court of Texas recently issued an opinion stemming from the death of a student who was shot by a University peace officer. The student’s parents filed a lawsuit against the University and the peace officer. In response, the University argued that governmental immunity protects it from being sued for injuries related to law-enforcement activities.

Sovereign immunity, otherwise known as governmental immunity, protects government officials and entities from certain civil lawsuits. However, Texas waives this immunity in specific situations. That said, plaintiffs still frequently face difficulties recovering in these cases. Texas courts have not extended this immunity to private entities, even if they perform some governmental duties. In some cases, institutions will purport to possess these protections, even though they are private institutions.

In evaluating whether the law provides governmental immunity to an institution, courts will examine whether the party acted as an arm of the state government, and if its conduct fits within the purpose of the doctrine. Generally, private universities do not act as an arm of the state. Even if a university performs law enforcement activities that may protect the public, the doctrine does not extend to these institutions. Although Texas Education Code allows private institutions to hire peace officers, the individual officer’s immunity does not extend to the private institution.

Published on:

https://www.texasinjurylawyersblog.com/files/2020/05/Screen-Shot-2020-05-04-at-9.59.08-AM.pngRecently, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a per curiam opinion in an appeal involving the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The lawsuit originates from an automobile accident that an injury victim filed against a Texas governmental entity. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Jefferson County, Texas, alleging that he suffered serious injuries when a police officer, driving a government-issued vehicle, crashed into him. The court instructed the plaintiff’s representative to direct his claims to a third-party risk management entity. Following this instruction, the representative notified the county of the negligence claim, provided identifying information and descriptions of the accident, and all required copies of statements and accident reports, ultimately expressing a desire to resolve the claim amicably.

In response, the risk management company denied the claim stating that it did not believe that the county was negligent. The county’s answer included all of the TTCA’s limitations but sought dismissal on non-TTCA grounds. The representative countered that he complied with the TTCA’s notice requirement, through his communications with the county’s risk assessment company.

Under the TTCA, claimants must provide “notice of the claim” to the governmental agency that they are pursuing a claim against. Section 101.101 of the TTCA requires that notice includes specific information unless the governmental agency has actual notice of the incident. The notice requirement mandates that the claimant provide information regarding the damage or injury, the time and location of the incident, and details of the incident itself. In contrast, actual notice means that the governmental entity was aware that they may hold some responsibility for damages, injury, or death.

Contact Information