In December of 2012, the United States Court of Appeals of Kentucky decided a case that involved a Louisville Motorcycle Accident. (See Wales, Sr., v. Pullen, 2012 WL 6632822 (Ky. App. 2012)).
The Plaintiff in the case sued the Director of Public Works and Assets of Louisville and the Assistant Director of Public Works, overseeing the engineering division. Plaintiff was injured after he fell off of his Louisville motorcycle after a big windstorm that caused there to be a lot of downed trees and branches all over the Louisville roadway.
Plaintiff sued the named defendants in both their official and individual capacities with regard to this Louisville motorcycle accident case. “While government officials and employees like Pullen and Storm may enjoy immunity in their official capacity, the do not enjoy immunity for negligent performance of ministerial tasks when sued in their individual capacity. (cites omitted). When a state officer or employee is sued in his or her individual capacity, he or she is protected only by a qualified official immunity.” (cites omitted).
“Sovereign immunity is the principle that a sovereign nation is inherently immune from suit unless it has given its consent or waived immunity.” Id. The rationale for this is to protect these offices against “the deterrent effect of a threat of suit alleging improper motives where there has been no more than a mistake or a disagreement on the part of the complaining party with the decision made.” Id. “Qualified immunity affords protection from damages for liability “for good faith judgment calls made in a legally uncertain environment.” Id.
Thus, the Court held that the assistant director’s case would not be dismissed but that the case against the director would. The director was afforded the qualified official immunity as he presided over a department with eight divisions and nearly 800 people making him not responsible for what occurred in that he violated no ministerial acts. But, the assistant director in that there was a Kentucky statute that described his duties and one of them was to ‘remove trees’, made his violation a possible violation of a ministerial act, thus subjecting him to liability, and thus allowing the claim against him to proceed.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Motorcycle Accident case, please call and speak to a Louisville Motorcycle Accident Case lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew Alitowski, P.A. at 888-ASK-ANDREW (888-275-2637) or contact us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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