Florida Supreme Court Rules Bus Driver Protected by Sovereign Immunity

by Carmen Dellutri on December 7, 2012

Fort Myers accident lawyerThe Florida Supreme Court has ruled that a Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus driver is a state employee protected by “sovereign immunity” in a lawsuit stemming from a 2005 Florida bus accident. The accident victim, Ashleigh Eminisor, had alleged that both the bus driver and the JTA should be held responsible for her injuries.

However, the state’s highest court has ruled that Eminisor cannot pursue her claim against the driver. Even though the bus drivers work for a non-profit organization that operates the bus service, the Florida Supreme ruled that they are still controlled by JTA.  As such, they are considered state employees, Jacksonville.com reports.

The decision is a blow for Eminisor because state employees cannot be sued as individuals for conduct related to their official job duties under Florida law. She can now only pursue her claim against the JTA, which is also protected by sovereign immunity.

As we have previously highlighted on this blog, the damages in a personal injury lawsuit against a state entity may be limited under Florida’s sovereign immunity statute.  Plaintiffs may not collect more than $200,000 without the approval of the state legislature.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Fort Myers accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Fort Myers injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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