« on: April 16, 2007, 09:34:23 PM »
Right, but the Commonwealth is a different story through the acts of its employees (definition includes agencies).So, that's the question, does sovereign immunity apply?I doubt the perpetrator of a murder/suicide would go on a later killing spree. If you tell me that a deranged gunman murdered someone on campus and is not in police custody, you shut down campus.
When it happened no one knew it was a murder/suicide.Does anyone think that the victims will be able to recover from the state of VA for its failure to close the school after the fist shooting?
It's likely; assuming they don't raise sovereign immunity... I dunno if they can in this instance.
Depends on the state, I think. We start sovereign immunity in Torts next week.
Under the Virginia Torts Claims Act, the Commonwealth waives its immunity if one of its employees acts negligently and that employee could be sued, but it expressly reserves immunity for its employees. It seems then that if the employee would be liable, then the Commonwealth would be liable. So to determine if the employee enjoys immunity we have to know what policy or action is at issue and if it was within the scope of the government's legislative/judicial/executive authority. If so, then immune, if not then we have to analyze the action itself to determine whether it was within the discretion of the actor. More discretion means more immunity. Does this sound right to everyone?
"Absent an express statutory or constitutional provision waiving sovereign immunity, the Commonwealth and its agencies are immune from liability for the tortious acts or omissions of their agents and employees. [citations omitted] "In 1981, the General Assembly stated in the Act an express, limited waiver of the Commonwealth's immunity from tort claims." [citations omitted] The limited waiver provided for in the Act will be strictly construed because the Act is a statute in derogation of the common law.
Under the plain language of the Act, the Commonwealth (and certain "transportation districts" not here relevant) are the only entities for which sovereign immunity is waived. See Code § 8.01-195.3 (stating that "the Commonwealth shall be liable for claims for money"). The Act contains no express provision waiving sovereign immunity for agencies of the Commonwealth, which we have stated repeatedly is a mandatory requirement before waiver occurs. As an agency of the Commonwealth, UVA is entitled to sovereign immunity under the common law absent an express constitutional or statutory provision to the contrary."
The Rector And Visitors of The University of Virginia v. Carter, 267 Va. 242 244, 591 S.E.2d 76, 77-78 (Va. 2004)
Doesn't seem like Virginia Tech could be sued, but there is plenty more case law that could indicate whether that is actually the case.