Decision – Tort Claims Act – Ministerial vs discretionary (important case)

Little v. MDOT – Ms. S. Ct. decision Oct. 17, 2013.  Three motorists sued MDOT after their cars collided with a pine tree that had fallen on Highway 26 in George Co.  The trial court found that MDOT was immune as this was a discretionary function and the Ct. of Appeals affirmed.  On cert., the Ms. S. Ct. held that “It is the function of a governmental entity – not the acts performed in order to achieve that function – to which immunity does or does not ascribe under the MTCA. Today we make it clear that, pursuant to Montgomery, the line of cases holding otherwise is overruled.”   Pursuant to M.C.A. Sect. 65-1-65,  it is the duty of MDOT to maintain all highways under its purview and, thus, the duty is ministerial in that it is  “positively imposed by law.” We hold that, “where a statute mandates the government or its employees to act, all acts fulfilling that duty are considered mandated as well, and neither the government nor its employees enjoys immunity.” MDOT v. Montgomery, 80 So. 3d 789,  798 (Miss. 2012).

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