« on: April 16, 2007, 08:38:02 PM »
Is anyone following this?
Here's my question, Would sovereign immunity apply to protect VA and/or Va Tech and/or the individual officers from liability with respect to either negligence or gross negligence or some constitutional tort claim?
The Virgina Tort Claims Act, Va. Code Ann. § 8.01, waives absolute immunity of the Commonwealth of Virginia if one of its employees would be liable as a private actor, but the decision in Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 260 Va. 482 (2004), construes the statute to be strictly a waiver of the immunity of the Commonwealth and not its agencies, thus UVA as an agency of the Commonwealth was immune from a malpractice suit. It seems to follow that VT would also be immune from liability, and the plaintiff's would have to name The Commonwealth as a defendant through the acts of its employee(s) - VT and the police officers.
The outcome is going to depend on what is being challenged (policy or implementation), and who the employee is (police officer, policy maker). If an individual then it depends on the discretion (s)he had and what direction (s)he took from her/his employer.