Patterson v. Cowley County, KansasAnnotate this Case
At issue in this appeal arising from wrongful death lawsuits alleging that Bolton Township and Cowley County negligently failed to provide adequate traffic-control devices on a rural road that abruptly ends at a riverbank was whether the Township had a legal duty to place the devices and whether the County was immune from liability.
The district court entered summary judgment in the Township’s favor on all claims, ruling that the Township had no legal duty under the applicable statutes to place traffic-control devices, guidance, or other warnings on the township road. As to the County, the district court granted summary judgment in part, ruling that the County was immune under the Kansas Tort Claims Act (KTCA) for failing to place an advisory speed plaque on the road but that a jury question existed as to whether the County was statutorily immune for failing to post a “Dead End” or “No Outlet” sign on the road. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the Township had no legal duty to place traffic-control devices along the road; and (2) the County was immune from liability for the signage claims under the KTCA’s discretionary function exceptions.