Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MTCA dismissal affirmed by Court of Appeals

In the recent case of Doe v. Rankin County School District the Mississippi Court of appeals affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court dismissing a case by a minor against the Rankin County School District by a nameless minor based upon the Mississippi Tort Claims Act.

MS Code Section 11-46-9(1)(b) states that a governmental entity is afforded immunity for claims “[a]rising out of any act or omission of an employee of a governmental entity exercising ordinary care in reliance upon, or in the execution or performance of, or in the failure to execute or perform, a statute, ordinance[,] or regulation, whether or not the statute, ordinance[,] or regulation be valid[.]” Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-9(1)(b) (Rev. 2012)

The statute allows for an exception for tortious acts which occur during within the scope and course of employment or during the performance of duties of a government employee.

Section 11-46-9(1)(d) states that a governmental entity will be immune from liability for claims “based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty on the part of a governmental entity or employee thereof, whether or not the discretion is abused[.]”

“A duty is discretionary when it is not imposed by law and depends upon the judgment or choice of the government entity or its employee.” Montgomery, 80 So. 3d at 795 (¶19) (citing Miss. Dep’t of Mental
Health v. Hall, 936 So. 2d 917, 924-25 (¶17) (Miss. 2006)). “A duty is ministerial if it is positively imposed by law and required to be performed at a specific time and place, removing an officer’s or entity’s choice or judgment.” Id. (citing Covington Cnty. Sch. Dist. v. Magee, 29 So. 3d 1, 5 (¶8) (Miss. 2010)).

The school's negligence was based on their implementation of safety and security on campus. The Court determined that this was within the discretionary function of the school and the case was ripe for dismissal.

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