Protection Through Sovereign Immunity
By Amy E. Feldman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Ever heard the expression you can’t fight city hall? I’ll tell you why.
In what might be the most disgusting cause of building damage, a children’s dance studio in Douglas, Georgia had to be shut down after the county sewer line backed up and caused all of the studio’s bathrooms to overflow in a torrent of sewer water that flooded the floors, walls, mats, and equipment. And you thought scrubbing the rim of your toilet with a brush once a month was awful.
When the studio’s owners tried to make a claim against the Douglas Counter Water Sewer Authority, her claim was denied because of a legal argument called sovereign immunity.
The federal government, along with every state has voted itself a protection of immunity, which means it can’t be sued, no matter how glaring its error, without its own permission. The government has granted permission to individuals to allege civil rights violations, but you can’t sue the government for its negligence, even if you were harmed by it. That stinks.