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Government Liability - Can I Sue the Government?

Government Liability - Can I Sue the Government?

Since the government writes the laws, they make it very difficult to successfully sue the government. Oftentimes cases will be thrown out due to “governmental immunity.” This means that the government cannot be sued under the facts of the specific case. There are exceptions to the general rule. For example, you can sue the government as you would an ordinary citizen or business owner if the claim arises out of the government’s proprietary capacity. Mostly this occurs when the government owns property and is charging for the use of the property (ex. landlord).

In a recent case Granata v. City of White Plains the appellate division let stand a jury finding that the government was 100 percent liable for a vicious attack that led to the death of the victim. The theory of the plaintiff was that the city failed to provide minimum safety precautions such as adequate lighting and regularly monitored cameras. In upholding the finding in favor of the plaintiff, the appellate panel held that immunity did not extend to claims linked to the government’s performance of a “proprietary function” such as owning and operating a parking garage.

Ultimately, personal injury cases against the government are tough. However, as highlighted in Granata, there are exceptions.

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