DeLoach v. Elliot, et al.Annotate this Case
Appellant filed a negligence action against a police officer, in his individual and official capacity, and the City of Waynesboro after appellant was injured when the officer, while conducting a routine patrol, drove his police cruiser into the back of appellant's vehicle. At issue was whether the tort immunity for local government employees for situations covered by OCGA 36-92-3(a) was limited to only those covered situations in which the local government entity remained liable. Also at issue was whether the construction of the statute applied by the trial court rendered the statute unconstitutional because it violated the Georgia Constitution's guaranty of the right to trial by jury by foreclosing entirely any remedy for appellant for her injuries arising out of the underlying tort. The court affirmed summary judgment for appellees and held that, by the passage of section 36-92-3(a), the legislature intended to foreclose all recovery against municipal employees for torts committed within the scope of employment and involving the use of a covered motor vehicle. The court also held that the statute was not unconstitutional where appellant's failure to send ante litem notice, and not section 36-92-3(a), was why she found herself without a remedy; where the issue of immunity for the individual government employee was moot when appellant's constitutional right to a jury trial was satisfied by her ability to seek redress and recover from the city; and where the issue of whether the statutory cap on damages was unconstitutional, was now moot.