Florida justices rule transit employee can't be sued


Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Supreme Court says public employees don't have to wait until lawsuits are resolved to appeal rulings that deny their claims of sovereign immunity.

The justices Thursday acknowledged their decision will require a change in court rules. They asked a Florida Bar committee to submit a proposed amendment.

Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine holding governments cannot be sued.

The high court ruled that immunity extended to a Jacksonville Transit Authority driver who was accused of hitting a pedestrian.

While Florida has partially waived immunity for governmental entities such as the transit authority, it has not been waived for their employees.

The justices quashed an appellate decision saying the driver had to wait until the pedestrian's lawsuit was resolved to appeal a trial judge's decision denying him immunity.

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