In October of 2013, the Court of Appeals for Kentucky decided a case that involved a motorcycle accident and a blind curve and the bus route being changed and whether or not a public official had immunity in this case. (See Tackett v. Tiernan, 2013 WL 5604672 (Ct. App. 2013)). The motorcycle accident occurred on August 28, 2008. It involved a bus. The driver of the motorcycle was severely injured.
The plaintiffs brought suit on January 23, 2009 and then field another suit on August 26, 2009. These cases were later consolidated. One party was let out because it was established during discovery that she had no authority to either direct or make changes to bus routes in her position with the School Board. Id.
The on August 16, 2010, one of the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment asserting he was immune from liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. “He contended that his actions in creating bus routes were discretionary duties, rather than ministerial and, thus, he was entitled to immunity.” The trial court agreed and granted the motion. The trial then went on and the defendant won and thus the plaintiff’s Louisville personal injury immunity of public official attorney filed this appeal.
The issue as to sovereign immunity was first discussed. The court noted that the Kentucky Department of Education’s Pupil Transportation Management Manual tha the duties of implementing safe transportation for public school pupils is within the duties of each school district’s transportation director. Id.
“Immunity from suit is not only available to the state, but “also extends to public officials sued in their representative (official) capacities…” (cites omitted). “Qualified official immunity applies to the negligent performance by a public officer or employee of 1) discretionary acts or functions, ie, those involving the exercise of discretion and judgment, or personal deliberation, decision, and judgment, 2) in good faith, and 3) within the scope of the employee’s authority.” (cites omitted). “Courts have continued to recognize the diction between discretionary and ministerial acts in sovereign immunity cases and have held that the wrongful performance of ministerial acts can subject the officer or employee to liability for resulting damages.” (cites omitted).
In the case at hand, the court held that the defendant’s acts in crating a bus route were discretionary and he did not owe a specific duty to the plaintiffs in this actions creating the bus route. Id. “To establish a negligence claim against a public official, the complaint must allege a violation of a special dity owed to a specific identifiable person and not merely a breach of general duty owed to the public at large.” (cites omitted).
If you have been the subject of a Louisville Personal Injury Immunity of Public Official case, please call and speak to a Louisville Personal Injury Immunity of Public Official attorney 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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