Massenburg v. City of PetersburgAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court dismissing Plaintiff's wrongful-death action against the City of Petersburg alleging that the City failed to notify area residents that the infrastructure was not adequate to provide the required safe flow of water to area fire hydrants, resulting in the death of his son, holding that sovereign immunity barred Plaintiff's complaint.
In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that his son died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries during a fire at his Petersburg residence before firefighters could establish a sufficient water supply and remove him from the burning residence. The City filed a demurrer and plea in bar, asserting that because Plaintiff's claim arose from the City's governmental functions of operating a fire department and supplying water for fire protection, sovereign immunity barred Plaintiff's suit. The circuit court granted the demurrer and plea in bar and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff's complaint alleged negligence arising from the City's immune governmental function of providing and maintaining fire hydrants the trial court properly granted the City's demurrer and plea in bar of sovereign immunity.