Jacobi v. HolbertAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the holdings of the circuit court and court of appeals determining that public defenders, as employees of the Department of Public Advocacy (DPA), a statutorily-created agency of the Commonwealth, are entitled to assert the defense of qualified immunity within the proper context.
After he was discharged from custody, Plaintiff filed a malpractice action against his former attorney, alleging that as a result of Defendants negligent advice regarding parole eligibility, Plaintiff had served longer in prison than he expected when entering his guilty plea. The circuit court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss, finding that Defendant was entitled to qualified official immunity from suit as an employee of the DPA. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) public defenders performing discretionary tasks in good faith and within the scope of their employment are entitled to assert qualified immunity to any negligence claim; and (2) Defendant was entitled to the defense of qualified immunity under the circumstances of this case.